Wildflower article — Showy milkwort

Showy milkwortby Eleanor Dietrich

Showy milkwort

This wildflower (Asemeia violacea, formerly Polygala grandiflora) is in the Milkwort family; the flowers in this family have a similar structure. There are two large “petaloid” sepals that look like and are the same color as the petals, and these are called the wings. There are three smaller petals fused together with the stamens in the center of the flower; the lower of the three petals is fringed. This distinctive shape helps you identify other members of the Milkwort family; there are nineteen different species of that family that grow here in north Florida, and most of them are in the Polygala genus.