Common Milkwort is a
perennial plant of the UK, typically found growing in poor or chalky grassland and sloping ground, to a mature height of up to 30cm.
Milkwort takes its name from the traditional belief that the plant increases milk production. Common Milkwort can be distinguished from Chalk Milkwort by: its larger size and more erect habit; its elongated tapering leaves (rather than oval leaves); and its leaves decreasing in size towards the base of the plant (rather than increasing in size). Common Milkwort may have lilac, purple, pink, blue or white flowers, whereas Chalk Milkwort flowers are commonly blue. The tubular flowers of Common Milkwort are made up of three petals: a lower petal folded into a 'keel', terminating in a frilly protruding 'crest', and two side petals. The flower tube is flanked on either side by two large petal-like sepals and enclosed by three short outer sepals.
Botanic classification and naming: Common Milkwort is a member of the Milkwort (Polygalaceae) family. The genus name
'Polygala' identifies the plant as a Milkwort and its species name 'vulgaris' means 'common species'.
Benefits: Common Milkwort attracts bees and has flowers adapted to select for bee pollinators.
Benefits to wildlife are also indicated with orange icons in the plant profile bar at the top.