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Polygala paucifolia (Gaywings) | NPIN

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Polygala paucifolia (Gaywings)
Sherman, Doug

Polygala paucifolia

Polygala paucifolia Willd.

Gaywings, Fringed Polygala, Flowering wintergreen

Polygalaceae (Milkwort Family)

Synonym(s): Polygaloides paucifolia, Triclisperma paucifolia

USDA Symbol: POPA5

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

A low plant, flowering from prostrate, underground stems and rootstocks, with pink flowers tinged with purple in the axils of clustered upper leaves.

This exquisite Orchid-like wildflower resembles a tailless, tiny airplane. It was thought that, if eaten by nursing mothers or fed to cows, Milkworts would increase milk production.


Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun


USA: CT , DE , GA , IL , IN , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: MB , NB
Native Distribution: Manitoba to New Brunswick; south through New England, and inland to Virginia and the mountains of Georgia; west to Tennessee, northern Illinois, Minnesota, and Manitoba.
Native Habitat: Rich, moist woods.

Growing Conditions

Soil Moisture: Moist
Conditions Comments: The plant keeps one fertile flower buried on a stem, used for propagation.(Andy Fyon)


Conspicuous Flowers: yes

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

Enchanter's Garden - Hinton, WV

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store


* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

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Recommended Species Lists

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Additional resources

USDA: Find Polygala paucifolia in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Polygala paucifolia in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Polygala paucifolia


Record Modified: 2014-03-28
Research By: TWC Staff

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