Information on Common Milkwort

Common Name: Common Milkwort
Scientific Name: Polygala vulgaris
Irish Name: Lus an bhainne
Family Group: Polygalaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


Click for list of all flowering by month
Common Milkwort could sometimes be confused with:

Milkwort, Heath,

This is a perennial wildflower which is easy to overlook but well worth looking for and examining through a hand-lens.  It has most unusual flowers which are borne in racemes and sometimes numbering up to 40 flowers in each cluster.  Each little blue, pink or white (5-8mm) is comprised of 5 sepals, 2 large and petal-like, 3 smaller and green. The 3 petals are fused to form a tube with the middle one fringed at the edge.  The alternate leaves are deep green and lanceolate.  This plant flowers from May to September in grasslands, banks and sandhills and not on very acid soils.  It is a native plant belonging to the family Polygalaceae.     

I first saw this wildflower in 1973 at Rossadillisk, Co Galway and photographed it in the Burren, Co Clare in 2003. 

If you are satisfied you have correctly identified this plant, please submit your sighting to the National Biodiversity Data Centre

Milkwort, Common
Milkwort, Common

'The juice of milkwort is a cure for warts'.

 From the National Folklore Collection, University College Dublin. NFC 128:231 From Co Cork