Polygala sanguinea (Blood Milkwort)
|Also known as:||Purple Milkwort, Field Milkwort|
|Habitat:||sun; moist; fields, bogs, fens|
|Bloom season:||July - September|
|Plant height:||4 to 12 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACW MW: FACU NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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A cylindrical spike, ½ inch across elongating up to 1 inch long with maturity. Individual flowers have 2 outer petal-like sepals that are large, egg-shaped and wing-like, resembling fish scales from the outside. 3 small petals form a narrow tube in the center with 8 tiny yellow-tipped stamens. Flower color ranges from purple to rose pink, fading to greenish white with age. One plant usually has a few to many clusters at the end of branching stems.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are up to 1½ inches long and very narrow, hairless and toothless, with pointed tips and little or no stalk. There is a prominent vein down the center. The stem is angular, hairless, unbrached or branching in the upper plant.
Fruit is a small round capsule containing 2 hairy seeds.
The flowers are similar to those of the related Cross-leaved Milkwort (Polygala cruciata), which is far less common though they may be growing side by side; it has leaves typically whorled in 4s and is shorter statured.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Blaine, Anoka County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.
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