Polygala vulgaris and Polygala serpyllifolia Polygalaceae Common Milkwort and Heath Milkwort

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Description - These two small Milkworts are often hard to tell apart. The main difference is that the lower leaves in Heath Milkwort are opposite, whereas in Common Milkwort they are alternate right down to ground level. This cannot be seen in the photos and often not in the field! They both have dark blue flowers, but often are found with pinkish or white flowers.

Habitat - They both grow in short, dry grassland and particularly on heath.

Comments - Common Milkwort tends to be only in the Pleinmont area in recent years, Heath Milkwort being the more common, and found along the cliffs, in various areas on the west coast, and on L'Ancresse Common.The name refers to the belief that the plant could increase milk yields in animals.

La Société Guernesiaise Guernsey Biological Records Centre Botany Section Species list Previous Species Next Species