30. Polygala polifolia C. Presl, Reliq. Haenk. 2: 101. 1835.
小花远志 xiao hua yuan zhi
Polygala arvensis F. Adema (1966), not Willdenow (1802); P. brachystachya Candolle (1824), not Blume (1825), nor P. brachistachyos Poiret (1816); P. chinensis Linnaeus f. arvensis (Willdenow) Chodat; P. kinii Cour tois; P. shimadae Masamune; P. telephioides A. W. Bennett (1872), not Willdenow (1802); P. warburgii Chodat.
Herbs annual, 10-15 cm tall. Main root woody. Stems multibranched, diffuse, densely curved pubescent. Petiole very short, pubescent; leaf blade green, obovate, oblong, or elliptic-oblong, 5-12 × 2-5 mm, thickly papery, midvein slightly raised abaxially, slightly impressed adaxially, lateral veins nearly absent, base broadly cuneate to obtuse, margin entire, apex obtuse to acute, mucronate. Racemes axillary or extra-axillary; peduncles very short, shorter than leaves, few flowered and clusterlike, 2-10 mm; basal bracts 3, caducous, ovate, unequal, 0.5-1 mm, ciliate. Pedicel short, pubescent. Sepals 5, persistent; outer sepals 3, ovate, 1.2-3 × 1-1.2 mm, apex acuminate; inner sepals 2, obliquely oblong or elliptic, 3-3.5 × ca. 2 mm, base attenuate, apex acuminate. Petals 3, connate at base, white or purple; lateral petals triangular-rhombic, ca. 2.5 × 1 mm, margin sometimes undulate, emarginate, glabrous; keel cucullate, longer than lateral petals, apex with 2 indistinct groups of multifid appendages. Stamens 8; filaments ca. 2 mm, forming an open staminal sheath split in upper 1/2-2/3, with 2 separate single filaments with anthers in middle, and on either side of these a united group of 3 filaments each carrying 3 sessile anthers at tip. Ovary oblong, ca. 1 mm in diam.; style ca. 2 mm, gradually thickened toward apex, curved; stigma mammilliform. Capsule suborbicular, ca. 2 mm in diam., margin minutely winged, very sparsely pubescent. Seeds 2, black, oblong, ca. 1.5 mm, ca. 1 mm in diam., densely white pubescent; strophiole white, 3-lobed. Fl. and fr. Jul-Oct.
Beaches along seashores, grasslands on slopes of hills; near sea level to middle elevations. Anhui, Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Jiangsu, Jiangxi, Taiwan, Yunnan, Zhejiang [Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, New Guinea, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam; Australia].
The nomenclature of this species is much confused. In summary, the name Polygala chinensis has been misapplied for many years to a number of species including this one. The treatment by van der Meijden (Fl. Males., Ser. 1, Spermat. 10: 455-539. 1988) should be referred to for further details.