Polygala obscura – Velvetseed Milkwort

Polygala obscura - Velvetseed Milkwort

Polygala obscura - Velvetseed Milkwort

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Polygala obscura

Synonyms: Polygala orthotricha, P. puberula

Common Name: Velvetseed Milkwort

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Subshrub, Herb/Forb

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Upland, Mountain

Flower Color: Purple and greenish

Flowering Season: Summer. This wildflower blooms after the summer monsoon rains have arrived.

Height: Up to 2 feet (61 cm) tall

Description: The flowers have 2 petal-like lateral sepals, a dorsally-cleft, central tube of fused petals, and a non-fringed keel petal. This unusual flower shape is typical of Polygala species. The flowers are followed by velvety-haired, ovate (in outline), light green seed capsules that dry and flatten to translucent seed disks. The leaves are green, alternate, and broadly linear to narrowly lanceolate. The stems are green, upright, and covered in fuzzy, flattened or curved hairs.

The similar Blue Milkwort (Polygala barbeyana) has narrower leaves and seed capsules that are only hairy at the margins.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Rosidae
Order: Polygalales
Family: Polygalaceae – Milkwort family
Genus: Polygala L. – polygala
Species: Polygala obscura Benth. – velvetseed milkwort

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map