Index- plants in this Family
Polygalaceae / Milkwort
Curtiss' Milkwort (Polygala curtissii)
Curtiss' Milkwort is also known as Appalachian Milkwort.

Plant Type: This is a herbaceous plant, it is a annual which can reach 40cm in height (16inches). Usually branched
Leaves: The leaves are alternate. Leaves can reach 2cm in length (0.8inches). Leaves can be as wide as 0.4 cm (0.16inches). Each leaf is nearly linear, entire.
Flowers: The flowers are irregular in shape . They are purple or pink with yellow. Blooms first appear in late spring and continue into early fall. Flowers in a cylindrical, terminal head about 1cm (0.4") wide and 1 to 2cm (0.4-0.75") long (open flowers and buds only, entire length of flower spike from beginning to end may be 4cm). The dense flower heads consist of many flowers with new buds at the top. Individual flowers typical of the Polygalas having two of the five sepals extending laterally like petals and the others joined.
Habitat: Well drained open woods and borders. More common in the mountains than piedmont and almost absent from coastal plain.
Range: Ohio and Pennsylvania south to Mississippi and Georgia.

      Color Photo     More Info      Classification

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I sometimes see this species growing in the hard packed, sandy soil of little used mountain roads.

Similar Species: Several Polygala species are somewhat similar. Very similar is Nutall's Milkwort (Polygala nuttallii) which is smaller and the racemes much narrower and it is not found in the mountains. Other Polygala species with similar flowers have very different leaf arrangements and/or are found in low, moist areas

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Curtiss' Milkwort (Polygala curtissii) - habit  © Daniel Reed

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More Info:  
The Search below may provide more information about this species. Some of URLs may have been used as a source for this page not otherwise cited. Most of the information not cited comes from multiple sources that can be found in the Books page. The USDA plant links are provided by: USDA, NRCS 1999. The PLANTS database ( National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA. You can check species names at ITIS Advanced Search to see if they meet the current ITIS taxonomic criteria.

By: Newcomb, Lawrence and Illustrated by Morrison, Gordon. 1977, Little, Brown and Company, ISBN:0-316-60442-9

One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.

Wildflo wers of Tennessee the Ohio Valley and the Southern Appalachians
By: Dennis Horn and Tavia Cathcart and Thomas E. Hemmerly and David Duhl. , ISBN:1551054280

This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.

Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves



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