bitter milkwort, purple milkwort, racemed milkwort
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, biennial, 4"-10" tall forb; stems smooth, clustered
Leaves: lower obovate, upper linear to narrowly elliptical
Flowers: rose-purple to white, 5-parted, 1/3"-3/8" wide, wider than long, 5 petal-like sepals with the 3 inner ones small and the 2 outer ones large, wing-like, oval with a wider tip; inflorescence a 3/4"-4" tall, loose, open cluster (raceme); blooms June-Aug.
Habitat: dry; prairies; in sandy soil
Conservation Status: Native
Floristic Rating: Coefficient of Conservatism = 6, 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