Home to the plants of the Sonoran, Chihuahuan and Mojave Deserts
Polemoniaceae, Jacob’s Ladder or Phlox Family
The Polemoniaceae or Phlox family is a relatively small family with about 30 plant genera approximately 450 species. The largest genus in the family is Phlox with over 80 recognized species (72 in North America). Other large North American genera include Linanthus and Gilia each with over 40 species.
Species are typically native north of the equator in temperate and artic climates and south of the equator in South America. North America has the greatest diversity of species particularly in the far southwest. North American species are perennial or annual herbs/forbs and subshrubs, rarely woody. Leaves are alternate or opposite and usually simple.
Important species are those sold as popular ornamentals and include Scarlet Gilia (Ipomopsis aggregata ) and several species of Phlox and Polemonium. The national flower of Bolivia and Peru is the Kantuta (Cantua buxifolia).