Family, Milkwort. Color, crimson. Sepals, 5, but 2 of them, the wings, are colored like petals. Petals, 3, the lowest, the keel, larger than the other 2, and beautifully fringed. Stamens, 6. Fruit, a 1-celled pod, notched at the top. Flowers,

1 to 3, on long peduncles, at the top of the low stem, which is about 4 inches high. Leaves, small, mere scales below; larger above, ovate, petioled, many at the summit, sometimes appearing as if whorled just under the flowers. May and June.

Fringed Polygala (Polygala paucifolia)

Fringed Polygala (Polygala paucifolia)

A beautiful early flower, its peculiar shape suggesting an orchid. The flowering branches spring from underground stems. These bear, later, small, homely flowers close to the ground, which pollinate themselves in the bud. Open woods. Not uncommon. (See illustration, p. 263.)