Polygala verticillata L.
Family - Polygalaceae
Stems - To +20cm tall, erect, single from the base, from a small taproot, herbaceous, dichotomously branching, purplish near the base, 4-angled, glabrous.
Leaves - At least the most basal sets whorled, all leaves sessile, glabrous, entire, acute, linear-lanceolate, with single costa, to +/-2.5cm long, +4mm broad. Upper leaves reduced to bracts by the inflorescence.
Inflorescence - Terminal and lateral indeterminate racemes, to +2cm long, 5mm in diameter. Pedicels to .6mm long. Pedicels and axis glabrous.
Flowers - Petals 3, united into a 3-lobed tube, folded around the pistil and stamens, purplish at the apex. The middle lobe fringed (with 5 fringes). Stamens minute, 6-8, adnate to the corolla tube, in two rows. Anthers yellow. Ovary superior, green, subglobose to compressed, glabrous, 1mm long, 2-locular, 2-ovuled. Sepals 5, unequal. The uppermost sepal to 1mm long, green, acute. The lower 2 sepals -1mm long, with a purple midvein, acute. The lateral 2 sepals ovate, whitish-green, with a purple midvein, to 1.5mm long. Capsules to +2mm long. Seeds black, pilosulous, to +2mm long.
Flowering - May - October.
Habitat - Rocky glades, prairies, open woods, fallow fields, eroded open slopes, upland flats, typically in acid soils.
Origin - Native to U.S.
Other info. - This little species can be found scattered throughout Missouri. This is an easy species to overlook in the field as it is small and non-distinct.
Photographs taken at the Peck Ranch Wildlife Refuge, Oregon County, MO., 7-12-03.