Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Low Pinebarren Milkwort - Polygala ramosa   Elliott
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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DistributionThroughout the southern 60% of the Coastal Plain, but only a few records for the northern portions. A disjunct collection from Rowan County in the central Piedmont.

This is a Coastal Plain species ranging from southern NJ and south to southern FL and west to eastern TX.
AbundanceFairly common to locally common in most of the range, but very rare in the northern portions. Casual in the Piedmont, if still present there.
HabitatThis is a wetland species, typically "in-between" the pool habitat of P. cymosa and the savanna habitat of P. hookeri and several others in the genus. It does grow frequently in pine savannas, but mostly in the wetter portions, in shallow pools and depression meadows, pocosin borders, ditches, and other somewhat wet ground in acidic soils dominated by pines.
See also Habitat Account for Coastal Plain Open, Wet Herblands
PhenologyBlooms from June to August, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a typical Polygala in height, with an erect stem to about 9-12 inches tall, and numerous short branches in the inflorescence. It has basal leaves that are short, elliptical to spatulate, rounded at the tip, and about 1.5 inches long. It has scattered alternate stem leaves, linear and ascending, and thus the stem looks somewhat devoid of leaves. The flower clusters are numerous short racemes of yellow flowers on the branch tips, producing a flat-topped inflorescence about 4 inches across. The species looks like a "runt" P. cymosa, which grows to 2-3 feet tall, grows in pools, and has longer and narrow basal leaves. P. ramosa is one of a good handful of milkworts that a biologist can see in a single day in a Coastal Plain savanna and is, by far, the more frequently seen of the two yellow-flowered species.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Short Pinebarren Milkwort, Savanna Milkwort
State RankS4
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
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B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, shore of 17 Frog Pond, July 2010. ScotlandPhoto_natural

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