Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Field Milkwort - Polygala sanguinea   L.
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 over nearly all of the Mountains, but widely scattered in the Piedmont, mainly the northern half; one record for the northern Coastal Plain (Bertie County). A moderate size population was discovered in late June 2023 on a N-facing mesic slope in a powerline In Anson County; others in same powerline are P. verticillata and P. curtissii.

This is a widespread species to the north and west of NC; it ranges from eastern Canada south to northern GA and northeastern TX.
AbundanceFrequent to locally fairly common in the Mountains, rare to uncommon in the Piedmont, very rare in the Coastal Plain.
HabitatThis species has no primary habitat, and it occurs in quite a few disparate sites. It grows mostly in full to partial sun, of meadows, grassy fields, seeps, margins of rock outcrops, and even into bog margins. It is likely more often found in moist areas in meadows than anywhere else.
PhenologyBlooms from June to August, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a rather "standard" Polygala -- with a slender stem, only to about 10 inches tall, with some branches in the upper portions. It has alternate, linear stem leaves, about 1 inch long and very narrow. The racemes of flowers that top each branch are quite densely packed with rose-purple-colored flowers; the raceme is about 3/4-1 inch long and about 1/2-inch wide or less, typically about twice as tall as wide. P. curtissii is somewhat similar, but that species has a more rounded head, with slightly larger flowers not quite as densely packed; it also has bracts that remain attached to the stem when a flower falls. Because of its varied habitats, it is hard to pinpoint good habitats to search for this species, though the mountains and sunny areas are good places to start.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Blood Milkwort, Purple Milkwort
State RankS3? [S3]
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
USACE-agcpFAC link
USACE-empFAC link
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
Photo Gallery
B.A. SorrieLittle Park, Anson County, powerline, 28 June 2023. AnsonPhoto_natural

View Mapping Selection Options
Select a source
Select an occurrence type