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  1. Family: Polygalaceae Hoffmanns. & Link
    1. Polygala Tourn. ex L.

      1. This genus is accepted, and is native to Europe, Asia-Tropical, Africa, Caroline Island, Southern America, Australasia, Northern America and Asia-Temperate..


    Polygalaceae, Jorge Paiva. Flora of Tropical East Africa, 2007

    A cosmopolititan genus with about 750 species, widespread mainly in tropical and subtropical regions. The genus is divided into several subgenera, but the African species belong to the subgenus Polygala, with the exception of three species from NW Africa [( P. munbyana Boiss. (Algeria and Morocco), P. webbiana Coss. (Morocco) and P. balansae Coss. (Morocco)], which belong to subgenus Chamaebuxus (DC.) Rchb. Species 1–6 belong to the section Timutua DC., 7 to Leptaleae (Chodat) Paiva, 8–32 to Blepharidium DC., 33–42 to Tetrasepalae (Chodat) Paiva, 43 to Conospermae (Chodat) Paiva, 44–47 to Chloropterae (Chodat) Paiva and 48–50 to Megatropis Paiva.
    Annual or perennial herbs, shrublets, shrubs, rarely small trees (or woody climbers in Madagascar)
    Leaves usually alternate, rarely opposite or verticillate, sometimes in basal leaf-rosettes, sessile or shortly petiolate, simple, entire, usually linear to lanceolate, exstipulate
    Flowers in several-flowered, terminal, axillary or pseudolateral racemes, secondarily spiciform or corymbiform, rarely solitary
    Sepals 5, unequal, 3 external, persistent (caducous in some American subgenera), 2 anterior (inferior) alike, free, sometimes united and 1 superior larger; 2 internal (lateral) ones larger and petaloid (wing-sepals)
    Petals 3(5), the 2 lateral ones usually absent or vestigial, the 2 upper ones joined at the base to the lower one (keel or carina ), keel-shaped and often fringed (crested); crest fimbriate or plurilobed, rarely without the crest
    Stamens usually 8 (exceptionally 9–10), united into a slit tube, sometimes 6 fertile and 2 staminodes
    Ovary 2-locular, sessile, sometimes shortly stalked; stigma 2-branched or 2-lobed
    Fruit a capsule, usually flattened, 2-locular, 2-seeded, usually winged
    Seeds often hairy, with a silky indumentum, rarely glabrous or with glochidiate hairs, usually with a 3-lobed or 3-branched caruncle, often with 3 membranous appendages.

    Polygalaceae, A. W. Exell. Flora Zambesiaca 1:1. 1960

    Shrubs, shrublets or perennial or annual herbs.
    Leaves alternate (in our species) and very shortly petiolate.
    Flowers zygomoric, papilionaceous, in terminal or lateral racemes or rarely solitary.
    Sepals unequal, the three outer ones usually sepaloid and the two inner ones (wings) larger and petaloid, all free or the two anterior ones united.
    Petals 3 (5) the lowest forming the carina (usually crested), the two lateral ones usually vestigial or absent, the two upper ones joined at the base to the carina.
    Stamens 8 (rarely 9, 4 or 5) sometimes only 6 fertile with 2 staminodes, monadelphous.
    Ovary 2-locular.
    Capsule flattened, 2-locular, 2-seeded.
    Seeds usually with a caruncle and with a silky indumentum (rarely glabrous or with glochidiate hairs).



    Native to:

    Afghanistan, Alabama, Albania, Alberta, Algeria, Altay, Amur, Andaman Is., Angola, Argentina Northeast, Argentina Northwest, Argentina South, Arizona, Arkansas, Assam, Austria, Bahamas, Baleares, Baltic States, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bermuda, Bolivia, Borneo, Botswana, Brazil North, Brazil Northeast, Brazil South, Brazil Southeast, Brazil West-Central, British Columbia, Bulgaria, Burkina, Burundi, Buryatiya, Cabinda, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Provinces, Cape Verde, Caroline Is., Central African Repu, Central European Rus, Chad, Chile Central, Chile North, Chile South, China North-Central, China South-Central, China Southeast, Chita, Colombia, Colorado, Comoros, Congo, Corse, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, East Aegean Is., East European Russia, East Himalaya, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Finland, Florida, France, Free State, French Guiana, Føroyar, Gabon, Galápagos, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Great Britain, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Gulf States, Guyana, Hainan, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Illinois, India, Indiana, Inner Mongolia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Irkutsk, Italy, Ivory Coast, Jamaica, Japan, Jawa, Kansas, Kazakhstan, Kentucky, Kenya, Khabarovsk, Kirgizstan, Korea, Krasnoyarsk, Kriti, Krym, KwaZulu-Natal, Laccadive Is., Laos, Lebanon-Syria, Leeward Is., Lesotho, Lesser Sunda Is., Liberia, Libya, Louisiana, Madagascar, Maine, Malawi, Malaya, Maldives, Mali, Maluku, Manchuria, Manitoba, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mauritania, Mexico Central, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Northwest, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nansei-shoto, Nebraska, Nepal, Netherlands, New Guinea, New Jersey, New Mexico, New South Wales, New York, Nicaragua, Nicobar Is., Niger, Nigeria, North Carolina, North Caucasus, North Dakota, North European Russi, Northern Provinces, Northern Territory, Northwest European R, Norway, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oman, Ontario, Pakistan, Palestine, Panamá, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Primorye, Puerto Rico, Qinghai, Queensland, Romania, Rwanda, Sardegna, Saskatchewan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sicilia, Sierra Leone, Sinai, Socotra, Solomon Is., Somalia, South Australia, South Carolina, South Dakota, South European Russi, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Sulawesi, Sumatera, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Tadzhikistan, Taiwan, Tanzania, Tennessee, Texas, Thailand, Tibet, Togo, Transcaucasus, Trinidad-Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkey-in-Europe, Tuva, Uganda, Ukraine, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Venezuelan Antilles, Vermont, Vietnam, Virginia, West Himalaya, West Siberia, Western Australia, Windward Is., Wyoming, Xinjiang, Yakutskiya, Yemen, Yugoslavia, Zambia, Zaïre, Zimbabwe

    Extinct in:


    Introduced into:

    Bismarck Archipelago, Cook Is., Fiji, Gilbert Is., Hawaii, Marquesas, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Norfolk Is., Réunion, Samoa, Santa Cruz Is., St.Helena, Vanuatu, Wallis-Futuna Is.

    Accepted Species


    Other Data

    Polygala Tourn. ex L. appears in other Kew resources:

    Date Reference Identified As Barcode Type Status
    Jan 1, 1990 Harley, R.M. [25812], Brazil K001133800
    Harley, R.M. [15026], Brazil K001133806
    Harley, R.M. [54869], Brazil K001133807
    Harley, R.M. [25698a], Brazil K001133808
    Maitland, T.D. [1397], Cameroon K000106224
    Stannard, B. [PCD5533], Brazil K001133804
    Harley, R. [PCD3281], Brazil K001133802
    Collenette [2351], Malaysia 54047.000
    Hatschbach, G. [36334], Brazil K001133789
    Lewis, G.P. [886], Brazil K001130003
    Rico, L. [1290], Bolivia K000295038
    Rico, L. [1590], Bolivia K000295202
    Rico, L. [1602], Bolivia K000295222
    Rico, L. [1419], Bolivia K000295407
    Rico, L. [1795], Armenia K000297290
    Rico, L. [1735], Armenia K000297307
    Rico, L. [1738], Armenia K000297302
    Rico, L. [2265], Syria K000764209
    Rico, L. [2039], Mexico K000266010
    Giulietti, A.M. [1556], Brazil K001133786
    Giulietti, A.M. [3251], Brazil K001133792
    Giulietti, A.M. [1265], Brazil K001133803
    Pirani, J.R. [1874], Brazil K001133788
    Labat, J.N. [3632], Madagascar K001208116
    Coradin, L. [6105], Brazil K001133801
    Irwin, H.S. [32707], Brazil K001133790
    Irwin, H.S. [34760], Brazil K001133805
    Eiten, G. [10081], Brazil K001133781
    Eiten, G. [6187], Brazil K001133787
    Gasson, P. [6055], Brazil K001133783
    Brooks, R.R. [535], Brazil K001133796
    Brooks, R.R. [503], Brazil K001133797
    Mueller, F. [419], Brazil K001133782
    Lucas, E.J. [587], Brazil K001130007
    Forzza, R.C. [3004], Brazil K001133793
    Forzza, R.C. [2792], Brazil K001133798
    Prance, G.T. [25028], Brazil K001133784
    Prance, G.T. [P/25047], Brazil K001133785
    Prance, G.T. [2467], Brazil K001133794
    Prance, G.T. [8473], Brazil K001133809
    Bau, B.B. [LAE 88471], New Guinea K000764369
    Lüdtke, R. [122], Brazil K001133799
    Figueiredo, C. [946], Brazil K001133795
    Brunt, M.A. [554], Cameroon K000106228
    Christenhuis, M.J.M. [6815], Romania K000696728
    Martius [1191], Brazil K001133791


    First published in Sp. Pl.: 701 (1753)

    Accepted by

    • Tutin, T.G. & al. (eds.) (1968). Flora Europaea 2: 1-469. Cambridge University Press.


    Flora of West Tropical Africa

    • Chodat Monogr. Polygal. 1 (1891) .1
    • —F.T.A. 1: 125

    Flora Zambesiaca

    • Gen. Pl. ed. 5: 315 (1754).
    • Sp. Pl. 2: 701 (1753)

    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    • Fontqueria 50: I–VI, 1–346, tab. 1–52 (1998)
    • Sp. Pl. 2: 701 (1753) & Gen. Pl. ed. 5: 315 (1754)


    Flora Zambesiaca
    Flora Zambesiaca

    Flora of Tropical East Africa
    Flora of Tropical East Africa

    Herbarium Catalogue Specimens
    'The Herbarium Catalogue, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the Internet [accessed on Day Month Year]'. Please enter the date on which you consulted the system.
    Digital Image © Board of Trustees, RBG Kew

    Interactive Key to Seed Plants of Malesia and Indo-China
    The Malesian Key Group (2010) Interactive Key to Seed Plants of Malesia and Indo-China (Version 2.0, 28 Jul 2010) The Nationaal Herbarium Nederland Leiden and The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

    Kew Backbone Distributions
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Kew Names and Taxonomic Backbone
    The International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families 2020. Published on the Internet at and
    © Copyright 2017 International Plant Names Index and World Checklist of Selected Plant Families.

    Kew Science Photographs
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    Plants and People Africa
    Common Names from Plants and People Africa
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