Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Racemed Milkwort - Polygala polygama   Walter
Members of Polygalaceae:
Members of Polygala with account distribution info or public map:
Google Images
Section 6 » Order Polygalales » Family Polygalaceae
Show/Hide Synonym
DistributionPresent in much of the Mountains, mostly the southern portions, and then sparingly eastward into the west-central Coastal Plain (to Johnston and Sampson counties).

This species has a very odd distribution, with many large gaps. It occurs from ME and MN south to southern FL and eastern TX, but is mostly absent in the middle reaches.
AbundanceInfrequent, rarely locally fairly common, in the southern Mountains and southwestern Piedmont, east to Catawba and Cleveland counties. Rare and likely declining in the western Coastal Plain. Very rare in the northern Piedmont, and seemingly absent from the northern Mountains, despite being within the overall range.
HabitatThis is a species of dry or mesic, partly shaded places. It grows along wooded borders, openings in upland forests, in Sandhills woodlands, and other upland sites.
PhenologyBlooms from May to July, and fruits from June to July.
IdentificationThis is a species with usually several erect stems or branches emanating from a taproot, thus looking a bit clustered, with stems to about 1.5 feet tall. Each stem is very leafy (for a Polygala), with numerous alternate and generally ascending leaves that are narrowly oblanceolate, rounded at the tip, and about 1.5 inches long and much narrower. Topping each stem is a narrow raceme, about 2 inches long and much narrower, with the many rose-pink flowers not overly crowded along the axis (i.e., essentially countable). This is a rather obvious species when in bloom, owing to the rosy spires, especially as several stems may grow together and thus it can occur in moderate patches.
Taxonomic CommentsDespite a large range and some authors listing two varieties, Weakley (2018) chooses not to do so.

Other Common Name(s)Purple Milkwort
State RankS2S3 [S3]
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFACU link
USACE-empUPL link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B. BeckSandhills Game Land, Richmond County, 2018. RichmondPhoto_natural

View Mapping Selection Options
Select a source
Select an occurrence type