Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Gaywings, Fringed Polygala, Flowering Wintergreen
Polygala paucifolia

Family: Polygalaceae
Genus: Polygala (pol-ee-GAH-luh) (Info)
Species: paucifolia (paw-ke-FOH-lee-uh) (Info)

15 members have or want this plant for trade.


under 6 in. (15 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)

USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)

Sun Exposure:
Light Shade

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:
Magenta (Pink-Purple)

Bloom Time:
Late Spring/Early Summer


Other details:
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
This plant may be considered a protected species; check before digging or gathering seeds

Soil pH requirements:
Unknown - Tell us

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
Unknown - Tell us

Seed Collecting:
Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed
Allow seedheads to dry on plants; remove and collect seeds

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By bsarg
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By LadyAshleyR
Thumbnail #7 of Polygala paucifolia by LadyAshleyR

There are a total of 11 photos.
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3 positives
No neutrals
No negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive JenDion On Jun 9, 2014, JenDion from Litchfield, NH (Zone 5b) wrote:

This wildflower sets underground seed, and also spreads by runner. It may set aerial seed, which would need to be bagged to keep ants from harvesting it, but sets underground seed even without flowers being apparent above. Roots are generally shallow - in the top layer of humus below leaf litter, etc. on the forest floor.

Positive HospiceRN4u On Jun 5, 2010, HospiceRN4u from Whitehall, MI wrote:

I live in Western MI close to Lake MI and my wife has been looking for this plant, Gay Wings, for years. She remembers picking them for her mother when she was little and would love to have some in her flower garden at our home. Can anyone tell me where I might be able to get some of these flowers?

Positive bsarg On Jun 29, 2003, bsarg from Worcester, MA (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is a wildflower but one book suggests it is suitable for the garden. What an experience to come upon a "colony" of gaywings in the woods!The 3/4 inch flowers do look like orchids.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Oakland, Maryland
Ludington, Michigan
National City, Michigan
Oscoda, Michigan
Eveleth, Minnesota
Saint Paul, Minnesota
Litchfield, New Hampshire
Averill Park, New York
Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
Blacksburg, Virginia

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