Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Hooker's Milkwort - Polygala hookeri   Torrey & A. Gray
Members of Polygalaceae:
Members of Polygala with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Polygalales » Family Polygalaceae
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AuthorTorrey & A. Gray
DistributionFound only in the southeastern Coastal Plain, from Craven and Sampson counties southward -- mainly in the coastal Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) zone.

This is a scarce species ranging sporadically from southeastern NC to the FL Panhandle, and west to eastern LA.
AbundanceRare to locally infrequent (in well-maintained savannas), found mainly in well-managed natural areas. This is a State Special Concern species.
HabitatThis is a species that is essentially limited to pine savannas, found mostly where the habitat is burned every few years to keep savannas relatively free of competing woody vegetation. Unlike most other Polygala species of Coastal Plain wetlands, this seldom occurs in ditches, scrapes, and other disturbed soil.
See also Habitat Account for Wet, Sandy, Fire-maintained Herblands
PhenologyBlooms from June to August, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a slender species, growing only to about 8-10 inches tall, with a few branches in the upper portions. Like P. cruciata and P. brevifolia, this species also has a few sets of whorled stem leaves, 4 per whorl; however, in this species the leaves are quite short and only about 2/5-inch long. Also unlike those two, the flower clusters at the branch tips are elongated, about 1 inch long but barely 2/5-inch wide -- at least twice as tall as broad. The other two have clearly rounded flower clusters barely taller than broad. The flowers in P. hookeri are lavender to pink, about as in the other two species. P. nuttallii also has spire-like racemes of pink flowers, but that species has alternate stem leaves, not whorled as in P. hookeri.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS2S3
Global RankG3
State StatusSC-V
US Status
USACE-agcpFACW link
USACE-empFACW link
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B.A. SorriePender County, 2014, Shaken Creek Savanna. PenderPhoto_natural
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