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Robert E. Preston & Thomas L. Wendt

[Annual] perennial herb, subshrub, shrub [tree, vine]; hairs unbranched. Leaf: simple, generally alternate (opposite or whorled); veins pinnate; margin generally ± entire; stipules generally 0. Inflorescence: raceme, spike, or panicle. Flower: bisexual, generally bilateral and ± pea-flower-like [or ± radial]; sepals 5, fused or not, lateral or inner pair generally larger and petal-like (called wings); petals 5[3], fused to stamen tube, [± similar or] different with 1 lower keel petal, 2 strap-like upper petals, and 2[0] lateral petals; stamens 3–10, ± fused, tube open at top; ovary chambers 1–8 with 1 ovule each, style 1 or 0. Fruit: capsule [drupe or nut; occasionally winged]. Seed: often with aril.
20 genera, 1000 species: especially tropics, subtropics few cultivated. [Persson 2001 Taxon 50:763–779] —Scientific Editors: Bruce G. Baldwin.

Root odor generally wintergreen. Inflorescence: raceme or spike, occasionally grouped and panicle-like; cleistogamous flowers occasionally solitary. Flower: bilateral; lateral 2 sepals enlarged; petals 3 or 5, keel petal generally with cylindric beak or fringed crest at tip; stamens 6–8, anthers dehiscent at tip, appearing 1-chambered; with nectary disk or gland; ovary chambers 2, stigma 2-lobed. Fruit: capsule. Seed: fusiform or ovoid, black, generally hairy, generally with prominent white aril on 1 end.
± 500 species: tropics, temperate. (Greek: much milk, some European species said to increase milk in cows) [Wendt 1979 J Arnold Arbor 60:504–514]

Key to Polygala

P. acanthoclada A. Gray THORNY MILKWORT
Subshrub, shrub; hairs spreading. Stem: sprawling to erect, < 10 dm, twigs densely hairy, white. Leaf: 5–25 mm, oblanceolate to narrowly elliptic or obovate, hairy. Inflorescence: thorn-tipped; flowers 1–15; pedicel 1.5–5.8 mm, hairy. Flower: 3–5.3 mm; outer sepals hairy, wings cream; keel petal beak 0 or minute. Fruit: 4–6 mm including stalk. Seed: 2–2.5 mm including hairs; aril glabrous.
2n=18. Desert scrub, Joshua-tree or pinyon/juniper woodland, generally in loose, sandy or gravelly soil; 945–1830 m. s Mojave Desert (Lucerne Valley), Desert Mountains (Eagle, New York mtns); to southern Utah, Arizona. May–Aug [Online Interchange] {CNPS list}

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Polygala, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 28 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Polygala acanthoclada Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

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Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.