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This family contains exactly one genus, Polygala.

See list of 8 species in this genus

References: Gillett (1968), Wheelock (1891).

  • 1a. Leaves few, clustered near the tip of the stem, the blades elliptic to oval; inflorescence with 1–4 flowers that are 13–19 mm long; androecium with 6 stamens; plants perennial from creeping rhizomes
  • 1b. Leaves usually many and spaced throughout the stem, the blades linear to narrow-elliptic or narrow-obovate; inflorescence with many flowers that are 3–6 mm long; androecium with 
7 or 8 stamens; plants annual, biennial, or perennial, but without creeping rhizomes
    • 2a. Chasmogamous (i.e., petaliferous) flowers borne in loose racemes, on spreading or recurving pedicels 1.5–3.5 mm long [Fig. 784]; cleistogamous flowers produced after the chasmogamous flowers, borne on secund, prostrate or shallowly subterranean racemes
    • 2b. Chasmogamous flowers borne in relatively more dense, spike-like racemes, the pedicels up to 1.5 mm long; cleistogamous flowers not produced
      • 3a. Plants perennial, with clustered stems arising from a hard, knotty root; leaf blades (13–) 30–80 ×3–15 (–30) mm, irregularly serrulate
      • 3b. Plants annual, the solitary stems arising from a taproot; leaf blades 10–40 × 
1–5 mm, entire
        • 4a. Wing sepals acuminate to awn-tipped at the apex [Fig. 783], minutely roughened on the adaxial surface; raceme 10–15 (–20) mm thick [Fig. 783]
        • 4b. Wing sepals rounded to obtuse at the apex, not roughened on the adaxial surface; raceme 2–10 (–14) mm thick [Fig. 785]
          • 5a. Leaves 1 at each node; wing sepals 2–5 (–6.3) mm long; racemes blunt at the apex (sometimes apiculate in P. nuttallii due to the flower buds); bracts persistent, each appearing as a minute, upcurved hook, remaining on the raceme axis after the falling of the fruits
          • 5b. Leaves 2–5 at each of the lower nodes (sometimes the upper nodes with only 1 leaf) [Fig. 785]; wing sepals 0.9–2.6 mm long; racemes tapering to a slender point; bracts deciduous from the base of the fruiting raceme, the fallen fruits leaving only a pedicel scar
            • 7a. Wing sepals usually ½ to as long as fruit [Fig. 785]; most nodes (except sometimes the upper) bearing 2–5 leaves; flowers white to pink to purple; 
axis of raceme not or scarcely elongating in fruit, the lowest internode 0.3–1.7 (–3.3) mm long
            • 7b. Wing sepals ± as long as the fruit; most nodes (except the lower ones) bearing a single leaf; flowers predominantly green-white to white; axis 
of raceme elongating in fruit, the lowest internode (1.2–) 2.3–8.4 mm long

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 Show photos of:   Each photo represents one species in this genus.