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Polygala ovatifolia (Eggleaf milkwort)
Hibbits, Terry

Polygala ovatifolia

Polygala ovatifolia A. Gray

Eggleaf Milkwort

Polygalaceae (Milkwort Family)



USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Erect, suffrutescent, branched perennial to 1 foot in height. Stems with soft, dense spreading-pilose hairs. Leaves mostly alternate or occasionally sub-opposite; oblong to oblong-lanceolate; about 1x1/2 inch; margins entire; base obtuse to rounded; apex acute to narrowly obtuse; hirsute with short, spreading hairs on both surfaces and on margins; petiole about 2mm in length. Zygomorphic flowers borne on loose, mostly upright, terminal or axillary panicles 1-3 inches in length; peduncles hirsute; pedicels bracteate and hirsute, 2-5mm; sepals five, outer three green, pilose, inner two white, petalous, spreading as wings; petals three, white to greenish-white, keel blunt with greenish-yellow apex. Fruit an orbicular, winged capsule to about 1/2 inch containing two arils.

Native to South, Southwest and West TX, southern NM and northern MX.


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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb , Subshrub
Leaf Arrangement: Alternate , Opposite
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Leaf Shape: Lanceolate , Oblanceolate
Leaf Pubescence: Pilose
Leaf Margin: Entire
Leaf Apex: Acute , Obtuse
Leaf Base: Cuneate , Rounded
Inflorescence: Axillary , Raceme , Terminal
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 1 foot tall.
Flower: Sepals five; outer three herbaceous
Fruit: To about 1/2 inch.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green
Bloom Time: Apr , May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


Native Distribution: TX, NM, MX
Native Habitat: Limestone rocky hills.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Rocky, limestone soils.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Propagation Material: Seeds


Bibref 293 - Manual of the Vascular Plants of Texas (1979) Correll, D. S. & M. C. Johnston

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-23
Research By: Joe Marcus

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