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Vascular Plants of California
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Polygala californica
CALIFORNIA MILKWORT


Higher Taxonomy
Family: PolygalaceaeView Description 
Common Name: MILKWORT FAMILY
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)
Reference: Wendt 1979 J Arnold Arbor 60:504--514
Polygala californica Nutt.
NATIVE
Habit: Perennial herb, generally from rhizome. Stem: generally decumbent, 0.5--3.5 dm. Leaf: 7--60 mm, lanceolate or elliptic to (ob)ovate. Inflorescence: thornless. Flower: open flowers 9--14.5 mm, or +- cleistogamous flowers 2.5--5 mm and occasionally present in separate, generally basal raceme; sepal wings ciliate, tip occasionally puberulent, pink (white); keel petal beak 1.2--3 mm, notched or contorted (entire) below, +- 0.7--1 mm diam near tip, yellow or white when pollen shed. Fruit: 4.5--10.5 mm including stalk, green. Seed: 3.5--6 mm including hairs; aril glabrous. Chromosomes: 2n=18.
Ecology: Coastal prairie and forest, chaparral, occasionally on serpentine; Elevation: 10--1400 m. Bioregional Distribution: NW, CW (exc SCoRI), n ChI; Distribution Outside California: southwestern Oregon. Flowering Time: Apr--Jul
Jepson eFlora Author: Robert E. Preston & Thomas L. Wendt
Reference: Wendt 1979 J Arnold Arbor 60:504--514
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Polygala californica

botanical illustration including Polygala californica

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Citation for this treatment: Robert E. Preston & Thomas L. Wendt 2012, Polygala californica, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora, eflora_display.php?tid=39043, accessed on January 21, 2020.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2020, Jepson eFlora, http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/eflora/, accessed on January 21, 2020.

Polygala californica
click for enlargement
© 2004 Aaron Schusteff
Polygala californica
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© 2008 Keir Morse
Polygala californica
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© 2009 Neal Kramer
Polygala californica
click for enlargement
© 2004 Aaron Schusteff
Polygala californica
click for enlargement
© 2003 Keir Morse
Polygala californica
click for enlargement
© 2003 Keir Morse

More photos of Polygala californica in CalPhotos



Geographic subdivisions for Polygala californica:
NW, CW (exc SCoRI), n ChI
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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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All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).