Jepson Flora Project: Jepson Interchange    

 
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©Copyright 1993 by the Regents of the University of California

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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

POLYGALACEAE

MILKWORT FAMILY

Thomas L. Wendt

Annual, perennial herb, shrub, tree, vine, some non-green, dependent on fungi for nutrition; hairs unbranched
Leaves simple, generally alternate (rarely opposite or whorled); veins pinnate; margin generally ± entire; stipules generally 0
Inflorescence: raceme, spike, or panicle
Flower bisexual, generally bilateral (appearing ± pea-flower-like) or ± radial; sepals 5, free or fused, lateral (inner) pair often larger and petal-like (wings); petals 5 or 3, individually fused to stamen tube, ± similar or different with 1 lower keel petal, 2 strap-like upper petals, and 0 or 2 small lateral petals; stamens 3–10, ± fused, tube open on upper side; ovary chambers 1–8, ovule 1 per chamber, style 1 or 0
Fruit: capsule, drupe, or nut, sometimes winged
Seed often with aril
Genera in family: 18 genera, 800 species: especially tropical, subtropical; very few cultivated
Reference: [Blake 1924 N Amer Fl 25:305–379]

POLYGALA

MILKWORT

Annual, perennial herb, shrub, tree, vine; roots generally with wintergreen odor
Inflorescence: raceme or spike, sometimes grouped and panicle-like
Flower bilateral; lateral 2 sepals enlarged as wings; petals 3 or 5, keel petal often with cylindric beak or fringed crest at tip; stamens 6–8, anthers dehiscent at tip, appearing 1-chambered; nectary disk or gland present; ovary chambers 2, stigma 2-lobed
Fruit: capsule
Seed fusiform or ovoid, black, generally hairy, generally with prominent white aril on one end
Species in genus: ± 500 species: tropical, temp
Etymology: (Greek: much milk, some Eur species said to increase milk flow in cows)
Reference: [Wendt 1979 J Arnold Arbor 60:504–514]

Native

P. acanthoclada A. Gray

Subshrub, shrub; hairs spreading
Stem weak and sprawling to erect, generally not highly branched, < 10 dm; twig hairs dense, white
Leaf 5–25 mm, oblanceolate to narrowly elliptic or obovate, hairy
Inflorescence thorn-tipped; flowers 1–15; pedicels 1.5–5.8 mm, hairy
Flower 3–5.3 mm; outer sepals hairy, wings cream; beak of keel-petal 0 or minute
Fruit 4–6 mm
Chromosomes: n=9
Ecology: Desert scrub, Joshua-tree or pinyon/juniper woodlands, often loose, sandy or gravelly soils
Elevation: 900–1700 m.
Bioregional distribution: Mojave Desert (Eagle, New York mtns, Lucerne Valley)
Distribution outside California: to s Utah, Arizona
Flowering time: May–Aug
See the CNPS Inventory for information about endangerment and rarity.
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bioregional map for POLYGALA%20acanthoclada being generated
 
N.B. The distribution depicted here differs from that given in The Jepson Manual (1993)

Retrieve Jepson Interchange Index to Plant Names entry for Polygala acanthoclada
Retrieve dichotomous key for Polygala
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