Kentucky Nature Preserves Rare Plants

Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission

Crossleaf Milkwort
Polygala cruciata
Family: Polygalaceae

Protection Status:
State Status:  E
USFWS Status: {null}

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S1

Wet pinelands, savannas, peats, and sands on or near the coastal plain; in KY, swamps, bogs, edge of lowland woods.

Species Description:
Annual herb.

Flowering Period: Early June to late October.

Additional Information at NatureServe

Diagnostic Characteristics:
This species of Polygala is small (1-3 dm) with leaves in whorls of 3 or 4. The pink (rose to greenish purple) racemes (head-like) are cylindric, sessile, and short (1-6 x 1-1.5 cm) and rounded at the top. The flower wings are deltoid and terminating in an abrupt sharp point. The flowers of this family have 3 petals that are merged around the stamens and the sepals (5) with the 2 inner sepals petaloid larger forming the "wings".

The habitat for this species is especially sensitive to changes in hydrology and not likely to withstand much alteration. Grazing or browsing pressure, vegetation removal, hydrologic changes (i.e. stream alterations road construction) would be detrimental. Exotic pest plants are a threat to this species and should be removed. Avoid creating access to the site through trail or road construction.

Global Range:

Known Kentucky Occurrences:

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Data last updated: Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission
801 Teton Trail
Frankfort,KY 40601
Phone: (502) 573-2886
Fax: (502) 573-2355
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