Bird-on-the-Wing

By William T. Hathaway
Bird-on-the-Wing (Polygala paucifolia)

In a woodland niche, located at the base of a rock cliff, I took this photo of the Bird-on-the-wing (Polygala paucifolia); it was in Botetourt County, Virginia on the Eleventh of May, 1970. This odd little plant also goes by such names as Fringed Polygala, Flowering Wintergreen, and Gaywings. When this species is first seen, most enthusiastic naturalists are fascinated by its enchanting appearance. Frankly, I believe that any slide show on woodland wildflowers would be greatly enhanced by including a colorful picture of this member of the Milkwort family.

In years past it was believed that this milkwort would increase milk production, if the plants were fed to nursing mother cows or to the cow herd.


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