Polygala lewtonii


Bull. Torrey Bot. Club 25: 140. 1898.

Common names: Lewton’s milkwort
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 10.

Herbs short-lived perennial (rarely biennial or annual), usually multi-stemmed, 1–2.5 dm, unbranched (or rarely branched medially to distally); from taproot (or rarely fibrous root cluster). Stems erect, sometimes laxly so, to nearly decumbent, glabrous. Leaves usually alternate, sometimes subopposite or opposite when scalelike proximally (less than 2 mm); sessile or subsessile, or with narrow petiolelike portion to 2(–3) mm; blade spatulate to linear-oblong, sometimes scalelike proximally, 5–15(–30) × 1–3(–6) mm, base cuneate, apex obtuse to rounded or acute, surfaces glabrous. Racemes loosely cylindric (open, elongate), 1.3–6(–10) × 0.8–1.6 cm; peduncle 0.5–1(–2) cm; bracts deciduous, ovate to oblong-ovate or elliptic. Pedicels (1–)2(–3) mm, glabrous. Cleistogamous flowers present in racemes usually below, rarely just above, soil surface, sometimes in proximal leaf axils later in season. Flowers pink to pale purple, 6–8 mm; sepals ovate, 0.8–1.1 mm; wings elliptic or obovate, 3–6 ×1.5–2.7 mm, apex obtuse to bluntly rounded; keel(2–)3–5 mm, crest 2-parted, with 2 or 3 lobes on each side, each lobe subdivided into 2–4 lobes. Capsules ellipsoid or oblong, 2.5–3.5 × 1–1.5 mm, margins not winged. Seeds 2.3–3.3 mm, pubescent; aril 2–3 mm, lobes 3/4 to equal length of seed.

Phenology: Flowering spring–summer.
Habitat: Sandhills, scrub.
Elevation: 0–100 m.


Polygala lewtonii occurs in Highlands, Lake, Marion, Orange, Osceola, and Polk counties, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (2010).

Polygala lewtonii is in the Center for Plant Conservation’s National Collection of Endangered Plants.

Selected References


Lower Taxa