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Polygala sanguinea L.

Field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderPolygalalesIncludes milkwort, krameria, and Barbados cherry families
FamilyPolygalaceaeMilkwort family. Also called Diclidantheraceae, Moutabeaceae, Xanthophyllaceae)
GenusPolygalaFrom Greek polys, “many or much,” and gala, “milk,” since some of these species were believed to increase milk yields in cattle
SpeciessanguineaFrom Latin sanguineus, "blood red" (from Stearn's Botanical Latin)

About plant names...

Field milkwort is a North American native plant. These plants do well in sandy or rocky soils with low nutritional content, in both dry or moist conditions.

Plants: 3-16" (7.6-40 cm) in height, with a hairless stem, although it may look pock-marked and irregular near the top from flowers that have dropped away. A cross-section of the stem resembles the keel of a ship or has four sharply-defined edges. The thin taproot smells a bit like wintergreen.

Leaves: Linear or narrowly elliptic, attached directly to the stem (sessile) or via very short stems, up to 1" (3 cm) × ¹/₁₆-⅛" (2-5 mm). They may be either alternate or opposite.

Flowers: A compact raceme atop each stem, which may be purplish-pink, rose-colored, white, or pale green. The coloring comes from enlarged sepals called “wings.” The entire flowerhead is up to ¾" (2 cm) tall and about ⅜" (1 cm) around. They appear from May to October.

Fruits: Each tiny flower becomes a tiny capsule with two hairy seeds.

Online References:

Polygala sanguinea at Illinois Wildflowers

Polygala sanguinea on

Polygala sanguinea on Kansas Wildflowers and Grasses

Polygala sanguinea on

Polygala sanguinea on luirig.altervista.org

Polygala sanguinea on Discover Life

Polygala sanguinea on ct-botanical-society.org

Polygala sanguinea at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Polygala sanguinea on

References:

Clemants, Steven; Gracie, Carol, Wildflowers in the Field and Forest, Oxford University Press, 2006, p. 82

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

9/16/2013 · Townsend Wildlife Management Area, Townsend, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 6 × 5" (16 × 13 cm)

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

8/3/2012 · Bemis Rd Conservation Area, Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 4 × 2½" (10 × 7.1 cm)

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

8/17/2021 · Center Pond Preserve, Red Trail, Phippsburg, Maine
≈ 3½ × 4" (9.4 × 10 cm)

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

7/6/2017 · Mt. Watatic, access road, Ashby, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 4 × 6" (11 × 16 cm)

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

9/16/2013 · Townsend Wildlife Management Area, Townsend, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 6 × 6" (15 × 14 cm)

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

Individual flowers are bilaterally symmetrical, and consist of two “wings,” which are actually sepals; and a smaller yellow corolla, the true flower. There are also three more sepals and three petals, but they are too small to see in this view. · 12/12/2020 · Bemis Rd Conservation Area, Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

9/11/2017 · Mt. Watatic, access road, Ashby, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 4 × 2½" (10 × 6.9 cm)

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

9/11/2017 · Mt. Watatic, access road, Ashby, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 3 × 3" (8.3 × 7.6 cm)

Polygala viridescens L.

 

Polygala sanguinea description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 24 Aug 2021.

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Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

8/3/2012 · Bemis Rd Conservation Area, Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 5 × 6" (13 × 15 cm)

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

8/17/2021 · Center Pond Preserve, Red Trail, Phippsburg, Maine
≈ 3½ × 4" (8.7 × 11 cm)

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

9/16/2013 · Townsend Wildlife Management Area, Townsend, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 2½ × 2½" (7.2 × 7.1 cm)

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

8/17/2021 · Center Pond Preserve, Red Trail, Phippsburg, Maine
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm)

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

8/17/2021 · Center Pond Preserve, Red Trail, Phippsburg, Maine
≈ 4½ × 3" (12 × 8.5 cm)

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

9/11/2017 · Mt. Watatic, access road, Ashby, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 3½ × 3½" (9.8 × 8.6 cm)

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

8/3/2012 · Bemis Rd Conservation Area, Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 3½ × 5" (9 × 13 cm)

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

8/3/2012 · Bemis Rd Conservation Area, Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 4½ × 7" (11 × 16 cm)

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

8/7/2012 · Townsend Wildlife Management Area, Townsend, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 4 × 5" (10 × 13 cm)

Polygala sanguinea (field milkwort, blood milkwort, purple milkwort)

8/3/2012 · Bemis Rd Conservation Area, Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 4½ × 5" (11 × 13 cm)

Range:

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