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Polygala virgata

   (Family: Polygalaceae)
Afrikaans: Persboom, Bloukappie English: Purple broom Sotho: Hlokoa leleue Zulu: Ithethe  EDIT
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Plant Type: EDIT  Shrub
Height: 1.5 - 2.5m
Rarity Status:
Preferred position:
Full Sun
Flowering time EDIT
x x             x x x x
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Flower colours
Flower shape
Flower type
  Bees, insects and bumblebees
  Flower info
  Drooping racemes of deep purple magenta flowers are borne at the ends of branches. The flowers look similar to that of a pea family Fabaceae, but are different. The flower is enclosed by 2 large purple bonnet-like bracts and streaked with darker veins. These open to show that the flower has a purple tuft of tiny hairs at the top of the lower keeled petal. The outer two petals surround the lowest petal like a bonnet. The purple tuft of hairs is a distinctive characteristic to identify all polygalas.
Leaf shape EDIT
Leaf margin
Leaf arrangement
Leaf size 010mm
  Leaf info EDIT
  Simple leaves are alternately arranged on younger branches and usually drops before flowering. The leaves are narrow in shape, dark green with a velvety texture and 10 mm in length.
Fruit type EDIT
Seed colour
  Seed info EDIT
  The fruit is a two-celled capsule and the seed is small, black and oval shaped.
Description EDIT
This charming slender shrub, bearing spikes of bright purple magenta winged flowers is an eye-catcher in any garden.

An erect, evergreen shrub and grows to a height of 1,5 to 2,5 m. A single stem is formed at the base of the plant and slender hairless branches occur at the top.
Growing EDIT
Distribution EDIT
Grows naturally on lower slopes and edges of bushy hillsides and along stream banks. It grows in sandstone, clay or limestone slopes and along forest margins. Protected by other trees and shrubs.

It has a wide distribution and occurs both in Tropical and East Africa, southwards through Natal, Transvaal, into the Cape as far as George. Growing in the Drakensberg it is found at an altitude of 250 to 1800 m.
History EDIT
The genus name Polygala was given by Linnaeus, derived from the Greek polus meaning many or much and gala meaning milk refers to supposed property of European species to increase milk in cows if grazed.
The leaves and stems were traditionally prepared and used as blood purifiers.
The plant is grazed when in reach of stock and game.
The beautiful flowering sprays can be used in a vase with a combination of flowers and green fillers.
Ecology EDIT
The shrub is a buzz with bees, insects and bumblebees attracted to the bright purple magenta flowers.
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