Thursday, May 31, 2012

Boykin's milkwort (Polygala boykinii)

May 12th, 2012. Milkworts have been blooming.

Polygala polygama (Racemed Milkwort). The Racemed Milkwort is probably the most widely distributed milkwort in Georgia.

A closer view of individual flowers

Another milkwort that appears to be rare in Georgia is Boykin’s Milkwort (Polygala boykinii). We saw a few plants in bloom beside the Red-cockaded Woodpecker Trail in May 2011. Just a few plants. This year, as we stopped along Starr Road, still in Jasper County, before we reached the Piedmont NWR, W spotted a patch of Boykin’s Milkwort plants beside the road.

A cluster of spikes seen from the truck. It’s easy to see how they might be overlooked.

A little closer, and…

closer still.

The leaves near the top of the spike are clearly alternate but...

are arranged in sets of five near the bottom of the spike.

Closer views of the spike. Individual flowers are between 1/4 to ½ inches across.

Closer views of the flowers. It was windy that day and difficult to get good shots of the individual flowers. These flowers are only about ¼ the size of the flowers of the Racemed Milkwort.

Polygala boykinii
(Boykin's milkwort) is native of the United States where it’s found only in Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.. In Georgia, it’s only been documented officially in a few counties - Houston, Randolph, Baker, Decatur and Seminole – in southwest Georgia. Our finds in Jasper and Jones counties would place this species two counties north of Houston County.

Click on an image to view a larger image

Identification resources:

Southeastern Flora: Polygala boykinii (Boykin's milkwort)


United States Department of Agriculture Plants Database: Polygala boykinii (Boykin's milkwort)

Related post:

- Racemed Milkwort (Polygala polygama)

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