Sketch Bot. S. Carolina 2: 186. 1822.
Herbs annual or biennial, single- to multi-stemmed, 1.5–4(–5) dm, unbranched or branched distally; from fibrous root cluster. Stems erect, glabrous. Leaves usually without basal rosette at anthesis; alternate; sessile or subsessile; basal blade obovate or spatulate to narrowly elliptic, cauline oblanceolate, spatulate-elliptic, or linear, (7–)15–40(–70) × 1.5–8 mm, base often cuneately narrowed and petiolelike proximally, acute to obtuse distally, apex usually rounded proximally, acute to obtuse distally, surfaces glabrous. Racemes in cymose panicles, each stem with to 110 racemose branches, 1.8 × 0.7–1.1 cm, ± flat-topped, 2.5–15 ×3–15 cm; central ones nearly sessile or peduncle to 2 cm, lateral ones subsessile or peduncle to 2(–3) cm; bracts usually persistent, lanceolate-ovate. Pedicels narrowly winged, (1–)1.3–2.3 mm, glabrous. Flowers bright yellow, drying green or yellow-brown, 3–3.5 mm; sepals decurrent on pedicel, ovate to lanceolate-ovate, 1–3 mm; wings ovate, elliptic-obovate, obovate, or spatulate, 2.5–3.5 × 1–1.4 mm, apex acuminate to cuspidate, involute; keel 2–2.5 mm, crest 2-parted, with (1 or)2 or 3 lobes on each side. Capsules subglobose, 0.8–1 × 0.8–1 mm, margins not winged. Seeds 0.5–0.7 mm, densely pubescent; aril 0–0.2 mm. 2n = 64, 68.
Phenology: Flowering spring–summer.
Habitat: Savannas, open pine woods, flatwoods, bogs, seepage slopes, coastal swales, exposed pond shores.
Elevation: 0–100 m.
Ala., Del., Fla., Ga., La., Miss., N.J., N.C., S.C., Tex., Va.
Polygala ramosa has been reported from Maryland (M. L. Brown and R. G. Brown 1984, as cited in the USDA Plants database); no vouchers are known.