The Biology of Australian Weeds 61. Polygala myrtifolia L.

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Polygala myrtifolia L., Sp. Pl. 2: 703 (1753) 

Polygala is Greek derived from polys meaning ‘much’ and gala meaning ‘milk’. The genus is named because some species reputedly promote the secretion of milk when eaten by stock. The specific epithet myrtifolia refers to similarity to myrtle leaves.

Polygala myrtifolia is a popular garden ornamental in South Africa, and is also widely utilized for horticultural purposes in other temperate climates, particularly Australia.

Polygala myrtifolia is naturalized across southern Australia, with extensive infestations present in Victoria around Melbourne and in South Australia on the Eyre Peninsula. Isolated and expanding populations are widely scattered in coastal New South Wales, eastern Tasmania and south-western Western Australia. Dense infestations of P. myrtifolia disrupt ecological processes in native coastal vegetation and threaten biodiversity values.

Cite this article as:

Adair, R., Shackleton, A., Stajsic, V. and Gajaweera, R. (2012). The Biology of Australian weeds 61. Polygala myrtifolia L. Plant Protection Quarterly 27(4), 119-30.


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First published online: December 15, 2012