Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for July 1st, 2014

Polygala polygama

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Pink Milkwort Flowering 2080

How’s that for a catchy botanical name and post title: Polygala polygama? Just one letter different—and consecutive letters in the alphabet at that—between the genus and species. Vernacular names for this wildflower are pink milkwort and racemed milkwort, though I wouldn’t believe for a minute that racemed is part of the vernacular. Now, polygamous, that’s another story.

Speaking of fancy-dancy, what do you make of cleistogamous? Definitely hoity-toity, no doubt about it. It’s a technical term for a kind of flower that never opens and that manages to fertilize itself; no polygamists need apply for that job. And yes, this isn’t all idle talk, because Polygala polygama is a species that in addition to regular flowers produces cleistogamous ones near or even under the ground. Wanna see? Just look at the little white nodules in the second picture.


These photographs are from near the end of the April 27th field trip to Bastrop led by botanist Bill Carr. By then we were on Harmon Rd., a little east of the state park.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 1, 2014 at 6:00 AM

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