Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Northeast Wetland Flora
Field Office Guide to Plant Species
Polygala sanguinea L.
- Family: Milkwort (Polygalaceae)
- Flowering: June-October
- Field Marks: This species is distinguished by its annual growth form, its flowers crowded in
a dense raceme, and the 2 large, petal-like sepals (wings) 1/4-1/3 inch long.
- Habitat: Meadows, prairies, open areas.
- Habit: Annual herb with fibrous roots.
- Stems: Upright, unbranched or branched, somewhat angular, up to 15 inches tall, smooth.
- Leaves: Alternate, simple, numerous, linear to oblong, pointed at the tip, tapering to the sessile base, toothless, smooth, up to 1/4 inch wide.
- Flowers: Many in dense racemes up to 1 3/4 inches long, up to 3/4 inch thick, short-cylindric, rounded at the top; flowers rose-purple, greenish, or white, short-stalked.
- Sepals: 5, 3 of them small and green, the other 2 (wings) larger, oval, petal-like, 1/4-1/3 inch long.
- Petals: 3, rose-purple to green to white, attached to each other and to the stamen tube.
- Stamens: 6 or 8, united to form a tube attached to the petals.
- Pistils: Ovary superior.
- Fruits: Capsules more or less flattened, notched at the tip, containing 2 seeds; seeds obovoid, hairy, with a 2-lobed growth (aril) one end.
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