Java Milkwort
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Java Milkwort
P Native Photo: Siddarth Machado
Common name: Java Milkwort • Malayalam: Kodassari • Tamil: Selagachedi
Botanical name: Polygala javana    Family: Polygalaceae (Milkwort family)
Synonyms: Polygala ceylanica Heyne ex Wall., Polygala javanica Steud.

Java Milkwort is an erect-ascending herb or undershrubs, 15-100 cm tall. Stems are woody at base; branches divaricate, slender. Leaves alternate, nearly stalkless, obovate, inverted-lanceshaped or elliptic-oblong-linear, wedge-shaped or narrowed at base, blunt or rounded-mucronate at tip, 15-45 x 5-20 mm, rusty-strigose on both surfaces; leaf-stalks 1-2 mm long, puberulous. Flowers are 7-8 mm long, borne in leaf-axils or at branch-ends or leaf opposed, in erect or drooping 2-9 cm long 5-15 flowered racemes. Flower-stalks are up to 6 mm long. Sepals 5, unequal, puberulous, yellow; outer sepals broadly ovate or lanceshaped to elliptic-oblong, pointed or subpointed, mucronate, 1.5-4 x 1.2-2.5 mm; wing sepals broadly ovate, 3-angled, heart-shaped at base, 6-12 x 4-9 mm, distinctly nerved, yellowish turning pale green or reddish violet, persistent. Petals are 3, adnate at base for ½, yellow; lateral petals ovate or elliptic-oblong, about 3 mm long; keel petal 4-5 mm long, pale yellow or green with violet multifid thread-like about 2 mm long crest on back of tip. Stamens are 8, pinkish; sheath 2-4 mm long, encircling style. shaped, violet. Capsules are broadly oblong or nearly round, notched at tip, margined, 4-6 x 3-5 mm, puberulous. Java Milkwort is found in South India, Sri Lanka, South East Continental Asia and Malesia.

Identification credit: Siddarth Machado Photographed in Kalakkad Mundanthurai Tiger Reserve, Tamil Nadu.

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