Senega ambigua (Nutt.) J.F.B. Pastore & J.R. Abbott

Locations ofSenega ambigua (Nutt.) J.F.B. Pastore & J.R. Abbott in Virginia

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Botanical Name
Senega ambigua (Nutt.) J.F.B. Pastore & J.R. Abbott
Common Name
Loose Milkwort
Polygala ambigua Nutt.; Polygala verticillata L. var. ambigua (Nutt.) Wood
Flora of Virginia Name/Status
Polygala ambigua Nuttall
Recent studies by Pastore et al. (2019, Taxon 68: 673-691) demonstrated that the New World members and Old World members of the large and non-monophyletic genus Polygala (sensu lato) are phylogenetically, morphologically, and geographically separated into two clades and cannot be considered congeneric. Since the type species of the genus is in the Old World group, the New World species (including all from Virginia) were re-assigned to the genus Senega Spach 1838 (Pastore et al., 2023, Ann. Mo. Bot. Gard. 108: 126-249).

The appropriate taxonomic level at which to treat this taxon, which has been widely lumped under the former Polygala verticillata L., is still somewhat uncertain. On older specimens, the long, interrupted racemes are very conspicuous.
Dry-mesic to dry forest borders, clearings, and fields. Apparently widely distributed and frequent in some areas, especially in the Piedmont and mountains, but further study will be needed to map this taxon completely.
Native Status

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