Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
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Polygala acanthoclada

Higher Taxonomy
Family: PolygalaceaeView Description 

Habit: [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.
Genera In Family: 20 genera, 1000 species: especially tropics, subtropics few cultivated.
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Thomas L. Wendt
Scientific Editor: Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: PolygalaView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Common Name: MILKWORT
Habit: 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.
Species In Genus: +- 500 species: tropics, temperate. Etymology: (Greek: much milk, some European species said to increase milk in cows)

Polygala acanthoclada A. Gray
Habit: 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. Chromosomes: 2n=18.
Ecology: Desert scrub, Joshua-tree or pinyon/juniper woodland, generally in loose, sandy or gravelly soil; Elevation: 945--1830 m. Bioregional Distribution: s DMoj (Lucerne Valley), DMtns (Eagle, New York mtns); Distribution Outside California: to southern Utah, Arizona. Flowering Time: May--Aug
eFlora Treatment Author: Robert E. Preston & Thomas L. Wendt
Jepson Online Interchange
Listed on CNPS Rare Plant Inventory

Previous taxon: Polygala
Next taxon: Polygala californica

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botanical illustration including Polygala acanthoclada


Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Thomas L. Wendt 2016. Polygala acanthoclada, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 28, 2016.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2016. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on April 28, 2016.

Polygala acanthoclada
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© 2002 Gary A. Monroe
Polygala acanthoclada
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© 2012 Aaron Schusteff
Polygala acanthoclada
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© 2005 Aaron Schusteff
Polygala acanthoclada
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© 2012 Keir Morse
Polygala acanthoclada
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© 2005 James M. Andre
Polygala acanthoclada
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© 2012 Aaron Schusteff

More photos of Polygala acanthoclada in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Polygala acanthoclada:
s DMoj (Lucerne Valley), DMtns (Eagle, New York mtns);
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.