Thursday, 16 January 2014

MELBOURNE STREET TREES 59 - POLYGALA

Polygala is a large genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Polygalaceae. They are commonly known as milkworts or snakeroots. The genus is distributed widely throughout much of the world in temperate zones and the tropics. The genus name Polygala comes from the ancient Greek "much milk", as the plant was thought to increase milk yields in cattle.

Polygala myrtifolia L. is an evergreen 2-4m tall South African shrub or small tree found along the southern and south-eastern coasts, from near Clanwilliam in the Western Cape to KwaZulu-Natal. It is a fast-growing pioneer plant, a typical fynbos component, and may be found on dunes, rocky places, along forest margins, beside streams, and in open grassland.

The thin, oval, mucronate leaves, 25–50 mm long and up to 13 mm wide, are arranged alternately and have entire margins - some forms of P. myrtifolia have thin, needle-like leaves. The attractive mauve sweetpea-like flowers, which close at night, may also be pink, crimson or white, and have a characteristic brush-like tuft protruding from the keel. The fruit is an oval, brown, dehiscent capsule which is narrowly winged. The species is often cultivated in South African gardens and is naturalised in Australia, New Zealand, Norfolk Island and California.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.





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