Small-leaf Milkwort
(Little Leaf Milkwort - Shortleaf Milkwort)
Polygala brevifolia Nuttall
Polygalaceae (Milkwort) Family

Plant is an upright annual; branched stem; six to ten inches high. Preferred habitat is open woods, pinelands and margin of bogs. Distribution is chiefly on the coast.

Leaves are narrow and usually less than one inch long; linear; opposite; no leaf stalk or if a stalk is present it is insignificant.

Flowers are loosely attendant at the end of the stem (no stalk); resembles clover; tip of cluster is pointed first and then blunt; rose-purple. Flowers occur in the summer.

Old superstition has it that cows will increase milk production if given the plant as fodder, thus the common name. Polygala was also eaten by nursing mothers for the same reason.

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