Heath Milkwort - Polygala serpyllifolia


Distinguished from P. vulgaris by having opposite lower leaves. The flowers are usually blue, but pink and white flowers do occur, sometimes in the same colony as blue flowers.

Similar Species

Common Milkwort (Polygala vulgaris) has alternate, not opposite, leaves.  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

Lower stem-leaves opposite; heathland or acid grassland

Recording advice

The County Recorder has asked for a specimen of this plant to be retained for verification


Grassland, heath and short turf but not found on calcareous soil or dunes.

When to see it

June to August and sometimes later.

Life History


UK Status

Widespread in Britain but quite local in some areas.

VC55 Status

Infrequent and local in Leicestershire and Rutland. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 9 of the 617 tetrads.

In the current checklist (Jeeves 2011) it is listed as scarce and almost confined to Charnwood Forest.

It is on the VC55 Rare Plant Register

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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