This section is from the book "An Illustrated Flora Of The Northern United States, Canada And The British Possessions Vol2", by Nathaniel Lord Britton, Addison Brown. Also available from Amazon: An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada and the British Possessions. 3 Volume Set..
Polygala sanguinea Nutt. Gen. 2: 88. 1818. Not L. 1753.
Polygala Nuttallii T. & G. Fl. N. A. 1: 670. 1840.
Annual, glabrous, erect, slender, 4'-7' high, branching above. Basal leaves none; stem-leaves numerous, linear or linear-oblong, 3"-8" long, 1/2'-1" wide, entire, obtuse or acutish; spikes cylindric or oblong, about 2" thick, 3"-6" long, the floral axis elongating as the fruits fall away from below; pedicels \" long or less; bracts subulate, persistent; flowers greenish or yellowish-purple, 1" long; seed obovoid, very hairy, longer than the caruncle; wings oblong to oval, about equalling the pod; crest very small.
Polygala Senega L. Sp. Pl. 704. 1753.
Polygala Senega latifolia T. & G. Fl. N. A. 1: 131. 1838.
Perennial, glabrous or nearly so, stems several, from woody rootstocks, erect or ascending, 6'-18' high, simple, or branched above. Leaves alternate, lanceolate to ovate or oblong-lanceolate, sessile, 1'-2' long, 3"-4" wide, serrulate, the lowest much smaller and scale-like; spike terminal, short-pedun-cled, dense, acute, 1-2' long; flowers 1 1/2" long, white or tinged with green; pedicels less than \" long; wings orbicular-obovate, concave; crest of the corolla short, few-lobed; seed hairy, slightly longer than the lobes of the caruncle.
Polygala alba Nutt. Gen. 2: 87. 1818.
Polygala Senega var. tenuifolia Pursh. Fl. Am. Sept. 750.
1814. Not P. tenuifolia Willd. 1803.
Perennial, glabrous, stems erect from hard woody root-stocks, slender, 6'-15' high. Leaves alternate, narrowly linear, acute, 3"-12" long, 1/2'-1" wide, their margins entire and revolute, the lower somewhat broader and shorter, clustered; spike terminal, long-peduncled, dense, 1'-2' long; flowers 1"-1 1/2" long, white; pedicels less than \" long; wings-oblong-ovate, slightly concave; crest of the corolla short; seeds silky; about twice the length of the caruncle-lobes.
Prairies, South Dakota to Nebraska, Kansas, Texas and Mexico, Montana, New Mexico and Arizona. May-July.
Polygala polygama Walt. Fl. Car. 179. 1788. P. polygama abortiva Chodat, Mem. Mus. Gen. 312: 280. 1893.
Biennial, glabrous; stems numerous, simple, 4'-20' high, erect from a deep slender root. Stem-leaves crowded, oblong or oblanceolate, obtuse, mucronulate, 8"-12" long, 1"-2" wide, entire, the lower gradually smaller; basal leaves spatulate, sometimes smaller; raceme terminal, loose, 1'-4' long; pedicels spreading or recurved, 1"-2" long; flowers purple or rose, rarely nearly white, showy, 2"-3" long, or some of them small and cleistogamous; wings broadly obovate; crest of the corolla large, laciniate; stamens 8; subterranean branches horizontal, bearing numerous, nearly sessile cleistogamous flowers; seeds hairy, longer than the caruncle-lobes.
In dry soil, Nova Scotia to Manitoba, Michigan, Florida and Texas. Local. Bitter or pink milkwort. Centaury. June-July.