Polygala ChamæbuxusBox-Leaved Milk-Wort
- Class and Order
- Diadelphia Heptagynia
- Generic Character
- Cal. 5-phyllus: foliolis 2 majoribus alæformibus, ante maturitatem seminis coloratis. Caps. obcordata, 2-locularis. Sem. solitaria.
- Specific Character and Synonyms
- POLYGALA Chamæbuxus floribus sparsis: carinæ apice subrotundo, foliis lanceolatis. Linn. Syst. Vegetab. ed. 14. Murr. p. 639. Ait. Kew. v. 3. p. 4. Jacq. Fl. Austr. v. 3. p. 19. t. 233.
- CHAMæBUXUS flore coluteæ. Bauh. Pin. 471.
- ANONYMOS flore Coluteæ. Clus. Hist. p. 105. f.
- POLYGALOIDES procumbens foliis duris ovatis nervo aristato. Hall. Hist. n. 345.
Clusius, in his Hist. Pl. rar. gives an accurate description and good figure of the present plant, before unnoticed (as he observes) by any author; it has since been particularly described by Haller and Jacquin; the former makes a distinct genus of it, by the name of Polygaloides.
It is an elegant little evergreen shrub of low growth, rarely exceeding a foot in height, with leaves like those of box, producing flowers from May to October, but most plentifully in May and June; each flower stands on a peduncle proceeding from a kind of triphyllous cup, formed of floral leaves, the true calyx is composed of three leaves, which are nearly white; the two outermost petals, similar to the wings of a papilionaceous flower, are also white, or nearly so; the third petal which forms a kind of tube and contains the eight stamina with the pistillum, is white at the base, but yellow towards the extremity, where it changes by degrees to a bright bay colour: both Clusius and Jacquin observed a variety of this plant, in which the calyx and wings were of a beautiful purple; this variety, we believe, has not yet been introduced to this country: the common sort was cultivated in the garden at Oxford, in 1658.
Miller describes it as a plant difficult of cultivation; it is not now regarded as such; both Clusius and Jacquin describe it as having creeping roots; such plants are generally increased without difficulty, and so is this; planted in bog earth on a shady border, it thrives extremely well, and spawns much, so that there is no necessity for having recourse to its seeds. It grows spontaneously on the Alps of Austria and Switzerland.