Polygala vulgaris L.

  2006 (10). P. vulgaris L., Sp. Pl. ed. 1 (1753) 702; Boiss., Fl. Or. I (1867) 476; Hayek, Prodr. Fl. Penins. Balc. I (1925) 596; McNeill, Fl. Eur. II (1968) 235; P. vulgaris I genuina Chodat, Mem. Soc. Phys. Hist. Nat. Geneve XXXI, 2 (1893) 448; P. stojanovii Stef., Изв. Бълг. Бот. Друж. III (1929) 80; P. carniolica var. stojanovii (Stef.) Stoj. et Stef., Фл. Бълг. изд. 2 (1933) 674; P. major var. minor Stef., 1. c. — Обикновена телчарка

Fam:   Polygalaceae R. BR.
Genus:   Polygala L.
Species: Polygala vulgaris L.
English Name: Common milkwort


Perennial plant. Stems erect or at the base ascending, 7 - 26 (30) cm long branched, rarely simple, without leaf rosettes, often stiffened, few to numerous, glabrous or short curly fibrous. Leaves 15 - 25 (30) mm long, 1.5 - 3.0 mm wide, short to the base, lance to linearly lance, with 1 branched or not branched vein, glabrous, flat or curved on the edge; basic elliptical lancet to elliptical, flat, usually not declining. Inflorescences upper and lateral, rarely only upper, dense, with 10 - 30 (40) blossoms. Bracts 0.5 - 1.0 mm long, shorter than the blossom petioles , rarely almost equal to them, lance, on the edge entire, white membranous, drooping, not forming a hood at the top of the inflorescence. Blossom petioles 1.5 - 2.0 (2.5) mm long. Sepals (2.0) 2.5 - 3.0 mm long, uniform, straight, 1/3 to half the length of the wings, lance to lance elliptical, pointed, dorsal green, to the edge white or purple, entire ; wings at flower (3) 4 - 7 (8) mm long, 2.5 - 3.5 mm wide, at fruit 5 - 8 mm long, 2.5 - 4.0 mm wide, longer and even to the width of the box or slightly narrower, lance elliptical to ovate or broadly elliptical, at base with short claw or sessile, with 3 - 5 strongly branched veins, blue to violet. Corolla equal to wings, to slightly longer or shorter, blue or pinkish violet, less white; tube to half of the wings equal to the free part of the petals, straight, slightly swollen at the base; petals at the base with ears, curved back, the tuft of 3 slightly cut bundles. The style is equal to the carpellum. The stamens are half-grown with the tube. The box is heart-shaped, narrowly symmetrical with wings, concave at the top, sat down, or with very short carpophor. Seeds 2.0 - 2.5 mm long, the shares of the appendage triangularly lance, nearly equal, up to 1/3 of their length.

From:   „Флора на Н Р България”, том VII, БАН, София, (1979)

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Polygala vulgaris, known as the common milkwort, is a herbaceous perennial plant of the genus Polygala belonging to the Polygalaceae family.


The biological form of Polygala vulgaris is hemicryptophyte scapose,[1] as its overwintering buds are situated just below the soil surface and the floral axis is more or less erect with a few leaves.
Polygala vulgaris reaches on average 7–35 centimetres (2.8–13.8 in) in height. The stems have many branches and are woody at the base. It has alternating pointed leaves, almost glabrous, 2 to 4 mm wide and 10 to 20 mm long. Basal leaves are spatulate, with rounded apex, while the upper leaves are lanceolate.[1]
The flowers are gathered in long terminal inflorescences. The colour of the corolla varies between blue and violet, it can rarely occur in purple forms. The flower's outer three sepals are normally small, green and insignificant, whilst the inner two sepals are bigger. The inner sepals are usually shorter than the petals. The stalks of the eight stamens are joined together to form a tube, and united with this tube, one on either side, are two tiny petals. On the lower side of the flower lies the third petal; it too, is joined to the stamen tube, but it is larger, and fringed. The flowering period extends from May through July.[1]
Common milkwort is quite similar to the heath milkwort (Polygala serpyllifolia), but in this species the inner sepals are usually longer than the petals. The heath milkwort can be all the same colours except for white. These four possible colours account for the milkworts' Irish folk-name of 'four sisters'.


This species is widespread in Europe, in Asia up to Japan and in US (Oregon and Michigan).[1][2]


Common milkwort grows in meadows, slopes, edges of forests, heaths, sunny woods, dunes and grasslands. It is frequent in patches on calcerous grassland, from sea level up to 2200 meters.[1]


In Scandinavia, it was called Freya's hair, but after the introduction of Christianity, it was renamed after the Virgin Mary.[3]

Medicinal uses[edit]

According to Classical and Renaissance writers common milkwort was used medicinally as an infusion to increase the flow of a nursing mother's milk.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Flowering Time: Blooms: V - VI, fruitful: VI - VII.

Distribution in Bulgaria: Growing in meadows and shrubs, in lowlands and mountains. Danube Plain, Predbalkan, Stara Planina, Sofia District, Znepolski District, Vitosha District, Slavyanka, Rila, Sredna Gora, Rhodopes mountains, Thracian Plain, from the sea level up to 1700 m altitude.
It is mentioned for Belasitsa (Stoyan., 1918). (Conspectus of the Bulgarian Vascular Flora) = conspectus&gs_l= Zlc.

Distribution: Common for Europe (except the Far North), the Mediterranean, the Caucasus, Southwest Asia (Asia Minor).

Conservation status and threats: not protected species in Bulgaria by the Biodiversity Law. - Biological Diversity Act -

Medical plant: yes, it is medical plant - Medicinal Plants Act -

References: „Флора на Н Р България”, том VII, БАН, София, (1979), Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

1. 2. 3. 4.


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