Family

Milkwort.

Colour

Rose pink.

Odour

Scentless.

Range

Mostly north.

Time Of Bloom

May.

Flowers: axillary; growing on slender flower-stalks; cleistogamous flowers borne near the root. Calyx: of five sepals, two of which are wing-like and coloured like petals. Corolla: very irregular; the keel ornamented with a fringe. Stamens: six. Pistil: one. Leaves: mostly at the summit of the flower-stalks; ovate; those below scale-like. Stems: underground. Rootstock: running.

Usually the fringed polygalas are found growing together in numbers as though they had just met for some gay fete. They have on their party clothes, and look as pretty and bright as possible. The poor little fertile flowers at the base have no party clothes, and are evidently left out of all the fun. No fairy god-mother has found them out, so they just have to stay at home and do the work of reproducing their species, while the useless, giddy sisters amuse themselves and are admired by all.

P. polygama has many flowers growing in a raceme at the summit of a leafy flower-stalk. It also makes the plain little sisters stay at home to do the work, knowing well that their vanity never overrules their good sense, and that they do not open their petals to expose their pollen to the rains, thieving insects or any other evils that might overtake them.