Polygala myrtifolia 'Grandiflora'

  • Dr Henry Oakeley
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Polygala myrtifolia 'Grandiflora'. Dr Henry Oakeley. Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0). Source: Wellcome Collection.

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Polygala myrtifolia L. Polygalaceae Cultivar 'Grandiflora'. Myrtle-leaf milkwort. Distribution: Europe. Name Polygala comes from the Greek for 'much milk'. Lyte (1578) calls Birdes Foote Trefoil (with yellow flowers), Polygala of Dioscorides. The accompanying woodcut of Lentilles, Lens, looks like Polygala but not myrtifolia which has shorter, myrtle-like leaves. Both Gunther (1959) and Lyte follow Dioscorides in using them for diarrhoea, menorrhagia, and breasts engorged with milk. Parkinson (1640) noted the same uses, but also noted that none of his contemporaries had sorted out what the plant of Disocorides was, and his are milkweeds, calling them the Greater Milk wort, Polygala major. No modern uses. Photographed in the Medicinal Garden of the Royal College of Physicians, London.


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