Polygala scoparioides – Broom Milkwort

Polygala scoparioides - Broom Milkwort (flowers)

Polygala scoparioides - Broom Milkwort

Polygala scoparioides - Broom Milkwort

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Polygala scoparioides

Common Name: Broom Milkwort

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial

Growth Habit: Herb/Forb

Arizona Native Status: Native

Habitat: Upland. This wildflower grows on rocky flats and slopes in desert grasslands and the mountain foothills.

Flower Color: White with often purple or green veins

Flowering Season: Spring, Summer, Fall

Height: Up to 1 foot (30 cm) tall

Description: The small flowers are in narrow, spike-like racemes. The individual flowers have 2 solid white or green- to purple-striped wings (petal-like lateral sepals), a dorsally-cleft floral tube composed of 3 fused petals, and a keel with a fringed crest. The flowers are followed by oblong, 2-celled, 2-seeded, thin-walled seed capsules with a single narrow wing on the top side. The many leaves are small, green, alternate, and linear to needle-like in shape with a pointed tip. The numerous, rush-like stems are green, angled, grooved, and covered with minute incurved hairs. The plants are broom-like.

The similar White Milkwort (Polygala alba) has non-winged seed capsules and lower leaves that are usually whorled. Winged Milkwort (P. hemipterocarpa) has hairless stems and seed capsules that are broadly winged on both sides.


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 scoparioides Chod. – broom milkwort

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map