Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Milkwort, the English name of the five native species of the considerable genus Polygala, the type of the order Polygalaceje, applying apparently to their supposed value as food for milch cows. Though some of the exotic species, such as the yellow-flowered P. Chamabuxus of central Europe, and some red-flowered ones at the Cape, are shrubby, the British species are small herbs, mostly common on dry soils, with small entire leaves and. racemes of flowers (either red, white or blue) of remarkable monosymmetric form, something like a pea-blossom. They have five persistent sepals, the two lateral ones, or "wings," petaloid but veined; from three to five petals, one forming a "keel" with a fringed extremity; eight stamens with anthers opening by pores; and a two-chambered, two-seeded capsule. The milk-worts are also called gang-weeds or Rogation-flowers from having been carried in Rogation-tide processions. Glanx maritima, a small member of the primrose family, with grey or glaucous leaves, is called sea milkwort.