Phlox condensata (Alpine Phlox) Polemoniaceae (Phlox Family)
Subalpine, alpine. Meadows, tundra, rocks. Summer.
Phlox condensata is the sweetest smelling of alpine flowers and it is often so abundant that on still days the air is redolent with its fragrance. But since winds are common in the treeless areas that Phlox condensata favors, it is often necessary to prostrate oneself before it and nose into it. You won’t regret the effort. In favorable summers of normal moisture, Phlox condensata flowers profusely; in dry summers only the tight green tufts of tiny leaves show with perhaps a few dry flowers.
"Condensata" is Latin for "coming together thickly", i.e., "dense", referring to the thick mat of tiny leaves.
Charles Parry collected the first specimen of Phlox condensata in Colorado in 1861.