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"-16" tall forb; stems usually solitary or branching towards the top
Leaves: linear to narrowly-elliptical
Flowers: rose-purple to white, 5-parted, 1/4"-1/3" wide, about half as long as wide, 5 petal-like sepals with the 3 inner ones small and the 2 outer ones large, wing-like, oval; inflorescence a 3/4" dense, terminal cluster (raceme), head-like, rounded to cylindrical up to 1/3" thick; blooms July-Sept.
Habitat: moist; woods, prairies, fields
Conservation Status: Native