Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Hooker's milkwort - Polygala hookeri
Hooker's milkwort is diminutive in stature and difficult to find when not in bloom. Mature plants rarely stand taller than about 12 inches and are virtually leafless except for some short linear leaves near the base of the flower stalk and scattered along the stem. Those along the main stem often occur in whorls.
Flowering occurs at the top of the stem in mid-summer. The photographs above were taken 13 August 2015. Each bloom is several millimeters across, composed of two light lavender "wing petals" beneath and attached to the stalk by a short petiole. Where found, it often occurs in distinct clumps within the marsh grasses.
Hooker's milkwort is small, but attractive and distinct. Because of its annual nature, small size, and narrow habitat requirements, it will likely never be grown commercially. Look for it in summer and simply admire it for its uniqueness.