Heath Milkwort - Polygala serpyllifolia - Western Isles Blue Wildflowers

Heath Milkwort - Wildflowers
You can see these lovely wildflowers in The Western Isles. The flowers are also sometimes pink and occasionally a white variety occurs.

Flowers June to September

The wildflowers are developed June - September in the various shades of blue or pink on The Western Isles.

They are in clusters of up to ten per each stem

. The lower leaves opposite on the stem are very crowded

Leaves - Opposite

The lowest leaves of the heath milkwort plant are usually opposite each other and crowded towards the base. ( Common milkwort leaves alternate up the stem)

Wide Colour Va rations

Heath milkwort has a wide colour spectrum which includes deep blue through to pale pink and white, and sometimes all these shades can be found growing close together.

Flowers 5 - 6mm
The tiny flowers are really pretty, they are actually smaller than those of the common milkwort.

Wet Marshy Grassland - Moorland
The heath milkwort is the moorland version of common milkwort which grows on the machair and places where shell sand are present. The heath milkwort grows on marshy grassland and moorland and peatland hills.

Low Growing Plant
This heath milkwort plant is low-growing. It has several stems, each stem has long-narrow, pointed leaves in pairs,the lowest of which are usually opposite one another. The pretty dainty small flowers are shaped like tiny udders

Name Derivation - Milk Yield for Cattle - Mini Udders - Wild Thyme

The family name is derived from Greek and means "much milk" - it was believed that the cattle that grazed on these plants had a good high yield of milk.

Another suggestion is that the plant was so named as the flowers are like mini udders. Heath milkwort is a wildflower often known as thyme-leaved milkwort - probably due to the leaf shape and arrangement which is very similar to that of wild thyme.

Click pictures below for larger photographs


Similarities between Heath & Common Millwork
Common Millwork is quite similar to the Heath Millwork but in this species the inner sepals are usually longer than the petals and the other difference is that in the Common Millwort the hairy leaves are arranged up the stem alternately (as in the picture opposite) whereas in Heath Millwork the lower leaves are dead opposite each other up the stem.

Food for Moths and Butterflies and Bees
This lovely plant is a favourite food source for moths and butterflies and heavy insects – such as bees – which are able to bend the lower petal’s grooved tip downwards to open the way to the nectar

Common milkwort-leaves

Kidney Vetch Hebrides Flora
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