Polygala rugelii

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Polygala rugelii
Poly ruge.jpg
Photo by Wayne Matchett, SpaceCoastWildflowers.com
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Fabales
Family: Polygalaceae
Genus: Polygala
Species: P. rugelii
Binomial name
Polygala rugelii
Shuttlw. ex Chapm.
Poly ruge dist.jpg
Natural range of Polygala rugelii from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common name: Yellow milkwort

Taxonomic notes

Synonym: Pilostaxis rugelii (Shuttleworth ex Chapman) Small

It is named for the German botanist, Ferdinand Rugel, who collected plants in Florida during the early 1800s.[1]


P. rugelii is an annual species, however, sometimes can be a biennial. In the spring, the irregular rosette is composed of spatulate leaves. The flower stalk arises in summer and the basal rosette will disappear. The stalk can reach 1 to 3 feet high and is often branched.[2]


P. rugelii is endemic to the Florida peninsula.[2]



In the Coastal Plain in Florida, P. rugelii can occur in wiregrass/saw palmetto/pine associations, cypress bays and flatwood marshes. It has occurred in disturbed areas such as cleared pine flatwoods and a recently timber harvested bayhead. It grows in peaty-sandy soil. Associated species include wiregrass, saw palmetto, pine, and cypress. [3]


Flowers late summer to early fall.[2]

Fire ecology

Following a fire, flowering of P. rugelii is conspicuous. [4]


The following Hymenoptera families and species were observed visiting flowers of Polygala rugelii at Archbold Biological Station: [5]

Apidae: Mellisodes communis

Halictidae: Augochlorella gratiosa

Megachilidae: Megachile brevis pseudobrevis

Sphecidae: Ammophila pictipennis

Conservation and management

Cultivation and restoration

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. [[1]]All Things Plants. Accessed: February 20, 2016
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 [[2]] Native Florida Wildflowers. Accessed: February 22, 2016
  3. Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: http://herbarium.bio.fsu.edu. Last accessed: November 2015. Collectors: A. Gholson Jr., Robert K. Godfrey, R.A. Norris, A.G. Shuey. States and Counties: Florida: Gilchrist, Manatee, Volusia. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  4. Abrahamson, W. G. (1984). "Species Responses to Fire on the Florida Lake Wales Ridge." American Journal of Botany 71(1): 35-43.
  5. Deyrup, M.A. and N.D. 2015. Database of observations of Hymenoptera visitations to flowers of plants on Archbold Biological Station, Florida, USA.