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, perennial, 4"-20" tall forb; stems mostly clustered, unbranched
Leaves: alternate, lower scale-like, upper linear to lance-like
Flowers: white, 5-parted, 1/4" wide, wider than long, 5 petal-like sepals with the 3 inner ones small and the 2 outer ones large, wing-like, widely elliptical; inflorescence a 1 1/2" dense, spike-like, blunt-tipped, long-stalked cluster (raceme); blooms May-June
Habitat: dry to moist; woods, prairies; in often limy soil
Conservation Status: Native
Floristic Rating: Coefficient of Conservatism = 8, Wetland Indicator = FACU Atlas of the Wisconsin Prairie and Savanna Flora: by T.S. Cochrane & H.H. Iltis: habitat, distribution infomation / flowering and fruiting times USDA Plants Database: Federal Distribution and detailed information including photos Dan Tenaglia's The Missouri Flora: Fabulous photographs; detailed descriptions; color and leave arrangement key. Southwest School of Botanical Medicine: Britton & Brown Illustrated Flora - 2nd Edition (1913) "An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada"