Etymology: Polygala: from Greek polys, "many or much," and gala, "milk," since it was thought that the presence of some of the species in a pasture increased the yield of milk
Plants: erect, annual, 4"-12" tall forb; stems usually branched but sometimes solitary
Leaves: mostly in whorls of 3-4
Flowers: pale rose to greenish, 5-parted, 1/4"-3/8" wide, 5 petal-like sepals with the 3 inner ones small and the 2 outer ones large, triangular, and wing-like; inflorescence a cylindrical, mostly stalkless cluster (raceme) with a rounded top; blooms July-Sept.
Habitat: damp to wet; marshes, pine barrens
Conservation Status: Native
Floristic Rating: Coefficient of Conservatism = 8, Wetland Indicator = FACW+ Wisconsin Natural Resources Magazine: Information and Photos USDA Plants Database: Federal Distribution and detailed information including photos Minnesota Dept. of Natural Resources: Rare Species Guide; description, conservation, photos, maps, etc. Illinois Wildflowers: Wonderful photographs; detailed descriptions; color and leaf arrangement key