Photos clockwise from upper left: Polygala curtissii, Polygala polygama, Polygala nana, and Polygala paucifolia.
Milkworts are native plants in the Polygalaceae family that are found throughout Georgia and much of the US. Over 20 species are found in South Georgia, North Georgia, and all in between. Some thrive in dry conditions while others need wet, boggy sites. While most of the species have small flowers in purple, pink, and white, there are a few species with yellow or orange flowers. Most of them have a raceme of tiny flowers, but a few have solitary flowers.
The lifespan of milkworts in Georgia includes species that are annuals, biennials, and perennials. They are usually low growing and unnoticed until they bloom. Look for these small flowers over the next few months. The common name is taken from historic use as an aid to increase lactation. Research medicinal use carefully.