Common Milkwort - Polygala vulgaris

Alternative names

Low to short plant, with a branched, woody stock and erect spreading stems. Leaves alternate all down the stem, not bitter tasting. Flowers blue, pink or white 5 to 8 mm in dense racemes of 10 to 40.

Similar Species

Heath Milkwort (Polygala serpyllifolia) has opposite lower leaves, not alternate.  Chalk Mikwort (Polygala calcarea) has been recorded in VC55, but only on a few sites in limestone areas; it has larger lower leaves clustered into a rosette.

Identification difficulty
ID guidance

All leaves alternate

Recording advice

Photograph of leaves as well as flowers


On short turf over chalk and limestone, commons and sand dunes.

When to see it

May to September.

Life History


UK Status

Common in suitable areas of Britain.

VC55 Status

Occasional and local in Leicestershire and Rutland. It may however be common in those places where it is found. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 43 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current checklist (Jeeves, 2011) it is listed as occasional, old grassland, but sometimes locally frequent where it occurs

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map