Polygala is a genus of over 500 varieties of plant found in hot regions of the globe and it is our Palm Centre Plant of the Month.
The name comes from the Greek: ‘poly’ meaning many and ‘gala’ being a word for milk. It was believed that the plant could increase milk yield from both humans and animals. Most polygala fall into the categories of annual, perennial or shrub. The flowers resemble pea flowers with two large ‘wing’ petals. From above the whole flower is in the shape of a cross with the winged petals forming the horizontal arms – this is a characteristic of polygala flowers.
Polygala myritifolia comes from South Africa, reaches a height of 1.5 – 2m, and flowers all year round. The ‘myritifolia’ part of its name comes from the plant’s leaves which are said to look like myrtle leaves. The plant can be found in the wild in a range of sites and climates: on the sea shore, in dry inland areas, and in very windy sites, with the plant’s colour and form changing according to which site it occupies. For example the leaves can be light green, dark green or even grey. Some varieties have thin, needle-like leaves and others can grow to a height of 4m.
The plant has distinctive green flower buds with with darker veins. They can be any shape from a simple oval to a half moon. The lowest buds on the plant open first. The flowers are formed in clusters on short thin branches, and look like pea flowers. The flamboyant petals can be mauve, lilac, white or pink in colour. Whilst flowers open all year round, the blooms peak in the spring. The small fruits look like winged capsules and open to reveal tiny seeds.
Polygala myritifolia grows in a range of soil types and will adapt to climate change. It thrives in Aegean and Mediterranean coastal areas and is grown in places in Istanbul. There is as yet no exact data on the lowest temperature it can withstand.
This plant can be grown from seed or from soft cuttings taken in spring or autumn.
In landscaping terms this plant is ideal for low maintenance and low watering gardens. It will grow in full sun or part shade, but in shade it will produce fewer flowers. It is useful as an edging pant for paths or for creating a windbreak. It can also be used as a specimen plant or placed as an accent within a grouping of small perennials. For containers the variety Polygala myritifolia ‘bibi pink’ is recommended. This variety is compact and has grey-green heart-shaped leaves. In its homeland South Africa, the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden has a beautiful white-flowering variety called Polygala myritifolia ‘white feather’.
The Palm Centre, Koycegeiz
For a wide range of special plants visit the areas best nursery, The Palm Centre at Köyceğiz.
It is open daily between 1st June – 31st October but you can visit at any other time by appointment.
Access to plant sales is free but a fee is payable to look around the extensive nursery.
Just ring or email (English is spoken):
Tel : +90 252 262 28 92
Fax : +90 252 262 51 61
Website : http://www.palmiyemerkezi.com