Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Tall Pinebarren Milkwort - Polygala cymosa   Walter
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Section 6 » Order Polygalales » Family Polygalaceae
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AuthorWalter
DistributionPresent essentially only in the southern Coastal Plain, with an outlier (historical) collection from coastal Dare County. A collection from Wake County is perhaps not natural.

This is a Coastal Plain species, occurring in DE, and then from southern NC south to southern FL and west to eastern TX.
AbundanceUncommon to infrequent, but rare in the eastern Sandhills portion of the Coastal Plain.
HabitatThis is a species of shallow, ponded waters, mainly associated with cypresses and pines. It occurs in cypress ponds, clay-based bays, limesink ponds, and other pineland pools.
See also Habitat Account for Longleaf Pine Woodlands with Isolated Pools
PhenologyBlooms from May to July, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a quite tall Polygala, usually reaching 2-3' tall on a solitary stem, though there are many short branches in the inflorescence. It has a basal rosette of leaves that are lanceolate to linear, about 2" long but quite narrow, and entire. It has numerous alternate stem leaves, ascending, and linear, shorter than the basal leaves -- such that the long stem looks rather "naked". The inflorescence has numerous branches, with the flower clusters rounded to flat-topped, 4-5" wide, consisting of several dozen individual racemes of densely packed bright yellow flowers. P. ramosa is somewhat similar, but it does not grow in standing water of pools, the basal leaves are smaller, elliptical, and rounded at the tips; it is much shorter (always less than 1' tall), and the inflorescence is much less dense and wide. This is quite a spectacular plant, as it can reach almost waist height, with numerous racemes of bright yellow flowers forming a flat-topped appearance.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS3
Global RankG5
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