Underappreciation Files #5: Night Phloxes.

Well, they may not strictly be night-bloomers. And they are close, but not really phloxes.
Call them "Prickly Phloxes" or scientifically (don't be afraid!) "Leptodactylon," which, if it helps, means "skinny fingers," which is a reference to the leaves, which individually look like a hand of slender pointy fingers.  

For the scientifically/taxonomically inclined, it looks like most species of these (save for L. californicum) have been re-assigned "Linanthus."  Whatever.

They are all from the dry American West, and rarely grown in gardens. There are perhaps half a dozen species, so by numbers it's easy to "collect them all," but by their horticultural scarcity and requirement of a dry garden to prosper, not so easy.

But they are totally worth it, three inches of pure joy.

Leptodactylon (Linanthus) watsonii.  Sold by Aguafria Nursery, I think. Being shy in daytime with its dark-rimmed night-flowers. Look closely and see how the leaves are not single needles as much as a set of needly lobes.

Leptodactylon (Linanthus) pungens, with characteristic "ropey" habit of stems, blooming this spring, not as shy in the daylight, in Rabbit Valley, far Western Colorado.

In a free-draining mix, I have found the seed easy to grow.  Plants are big enough to plant in less than a year, but transplanting seems where they are more fickle: my tests (resulting in the deaths of my beautiful plants) seem to indicate spring planting for these. (Neither summer nor autumn)  They do like crevice gardens. (As many, like L. caespitosum, grow in natural sandstone crevices)
Another fine plant for the parched and dry unwatered rockery.

If you are a collector, grow it!  If you are not, find out how!  

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