Polygala smallii is a short-lived, herbaceous member of the milkwort family. This erect plant typically grows no taller than 8 cm (3.1 inches) in height (Kennedy 1998) and forms rosettes of 1 - 4 unbranched stems. The taproot is well developed and scented. Leaves are oblanceolate to lanceolate in shape and measure approximately 1.5 - 5 cm (0.6 - 2.0 inches) in length, and 0.2 - 1.4 cm (0.08 - 0.6 inches) in width. Asymmetrical yellow flowers appear on cylindrical racemes that measure 0.4 - 7 cm (0.2 - 2.8 inches) in length. Each flower has 5 sepals, with the lateral pair large and petaloid. Corollas are greenish-yellow and bear 3 petals. Fruit is a 2-celled capsule that opens along the center to reveal a seed 1.2 - 1.4 mm (0.05 - 0.06 inches) in length, covered in short, stiff hairs (Gann and Bradley 1995;USFWS 1999).