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The flowers of Purple Milkwort are small, but attractive and ornamental, resembling miniature orchid flowers if they are examined closely. It can be distinguished from other milkworts (Polygala spp.) in Illinois by its slender racemes with distinct pedicels and purple flowers. Other milkworts have stout floral spikes with pedicels that are absent or hidden, or they have slender racemes with white flowers. Pink Milkwort (Polygala incarnata) is something of an exception, but it has floral spikes that are more dense and leaves that are scale-like. In addition, the tubular structure of its flowers is more elongated than the corresponding structure of Purple Milkwort's flowers. Another common name of Polygala polygama is Racemed Milkwort.


Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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