DWARF MILKWORT

Polygala amarella

Milkwort Family [Polygalaceae]

month8jun month8june month8jul month8july month8aug

status
statusZnative
 
flower
flower8blue
 
flower
flower8pink
 
flower
flower8white
grey-white
inner
inner8white
 
morph
morph8zygo
 
petals
petalsZ3
looks-like 5
type
typeZspiked
 
stem
stem8round
 
rarity
rarityZrare
 
sex
sexZbisexual
 

May 2015, Hartslock, Oxfordshire Photo: © Dawn Nelson
It stands erect or slanting to 10cm long (up to 16cm occasionally) with usually blue or grey-white in the South of the UK (where this is) or blue or pink petals in the North. [Your Author thinks the reddish flowers in bottom left corner are not those of any Milkwort, but possibly of Wild Thyme].


May 2015, Hartslock, Oxfordshire Photo: © Dawn Nelson
The leaves are a bit spoon-shaped, wider near the end and tapering to their point of origin.


May 2015, Hartslock, Oxfordshire Photo: © Dawn Nelson
The flowers are short, between 2mm and 5.5mm long and number between 7 to 30 per main flowering stem.


May 2015, Hartslock, Oxfordshire Photo: © Dawn Nelson
Any veins on the petals are non-anastomosing (that is, the veins do not loop back upon themselves). The inner sepals are longer than the corolla and are approximately half as wide as are the capsule coming to an acute or sub-acute point.

The stems are woody near their base (a feature that is not visible on these photos for other things in the way)


Easily confused with :Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum), Purple Milk Vetch (Astragalus danicus), Lesser Milk-vetch (Astragalus odoratus), Alpine Milk-vetch (Astragalus alpinus), Milky Bellflower (Campanula lactiflora), Milk-parsley (Thyselium palustre), Cambridge Milk-parsley (Selinum carvifolia) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families]

Not to be semantically confused with : Sea Milkwort (Glaux maritime) [a plant which grows near the sea where the sea may invade twice a day which has similar name but is not related to these other Milkworts].

A feature of this Milkwort (and that of Common Milkwort) is that the plant tastes bitter and are edible - not that they are routinely eaten - although they are used as to adulterate Green China tea. But this particular Milkwort is both small and a very rare [RRR] in the UK, so you will not see anyone eating it!

It is native in the UK and occurs only on chalk or limestone grasslands in Westmorland, County Durham, East and West Kent and in Mid-West and North-West Yorkshire.

Hybridizes with :

  • Common Milkwort (Polygala vulgaris) to produce Polygala vulgaris × Polygala amarella which was once found in East Kent amidst both parents in the early 1970's and has large lower leaves which possess an astringent taste (as do the leaves of Dwarf Milkwort. This hybrid, once-seen (by experts, not your Author) exhibits far more vigorous growth than Dwarf Milkwort). Good luck finding another specimen!

Many similarities to : other Milkworts (Polygala species)


  Polygala amarella  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Polygalaceae  

Distribution
 family8Milkwort family8Polygalaceae
 BSBI maps
genus8Polygala
Polygala
(Milkworts)

DWARF MILKWORT

Polygala amarella

Milkwort Family [Polygalaceae]