Information on Heath Milkwort

Common Name: Heath Milkwort
Scientific Name: Polygala serpyllifolia
Irish Name: Na deirfiúríní
Family Group: Polygalaceae
Distribution: View Map (Courtesy of the BSBI)
Flowering Period


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

Milkwort, Common,

Smaller than Common Milkwort, this perennial wildflower differs from its cousin by having its leaves almost always in opposite pairs, whereas the former's leaves are arranged alternately.  Its little flowers (5-6mm) are usually blue and in short spikes of 3 – 10, flowering from May to September.  Heath Milkwort grows on acid, peaty soils, and blanket bogs, is a native and belongs to the family Polygalaceae.  

I identified this plant growing in the Burren, Co Clare in 2005 and photographed it at that time.  

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

Milkwort, Heath
Milkwort, Heath

Also known as Thyme-leaved Milkwort due to the resemblance of its leaves to those of Thyme.  The name 'Milkwort' was given to the plant as it was thought that cattle grazing on this plant had increased milk yields.