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Polygala rimulicola var. rimulicola
(Guadalupe milkwort)

[taxon report][distribution map][all photos][line drawing]



Family: Polygalaceae

Scientific Name: Polygala rimulicola Steyermark var. rimulicola

Synonyms: None

Vernacular Name: Guadalupe milkwort

R-E-D Code: 2-1-2

Description: Mat-forming perennial herb from a woody base; stems numerous, glabrous, slender, mostly prostrate, branching, 1-5 cm long, green; leaves ovate-elliptic, 1.5-4 mm long, slightly fleshy; flowers 1 or 2, at the ends of branches, rose-purple and white; pedicels at maturity recurved and nodding, 2 mm long; wing petals broadly ovate, 4 mm long and 2.5 mm wide; keel petal, pouch-shaped, 3 mm long, obscurly beaked or beak lacking, greenish yellow; capsule broadly oval, 2 mm long, sparingly covered with short incurved hairs; seeds silvery pubescent, aril forming a glabrous knob on one end. Flowers June through September.

Similar Species: The prostrate, green, glabrous, nonglandular stems of Polygala rimulicola readily distinguish it from other New Mexican species in the genus. Its nearly beakless keel petal separates it from P. rimulicola var. mescalerorum.


Distribution: New Mexico, Eddy County, Guadalupe Mountains; adjacent Texas, Sierra Diablo and Guadalupe mountains.

Habitat: Crevices in limestone cliffs in montane scrub to lower montane coniferous forest; 1,550-2,400 m (5,000-8,000 ft).

Remarks: In New Mexico, this plant is restricted to the relatively cool, shaded canyon walls of the Guadalupe Escarpment. Even within this habitat it is sporadic and uncommon. It shares this habitat with several other narrow endemics such as Hedeoma apiculata, Salvia summa, Nama xylopodum, Aquilegia chaplinii, Chaetopappa hersheyi, and Perityle quinqueflora.

Conservation Considerations: The rugged, inaccessible nature of this plant's habitat protects it from any impacts of land use.

Important Literature (*Illustration):

Steyermark, J.A. 1932. Some new spermatophytes from Texas. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 19:289-395.

*New Mexico Native Plants Protection Advisory Committee. 1984. A handbook of rare and endemic plants of New Mexico. University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

Information Compiled By: Robert Sivinski, 1999

Agency Status:
Taxon USFWS State of NM USFS BLM Navajo Nation Natural Heritage NM Global Rank
Polygala rimulicola var. rimulicolaSoCSoC...S2G3T3


Photo credits in header Peniocereus greggii var. greggii © T. Todsen,
Lepidospartum burgessii © M. Howard, Argemone pleiacantha ssp. pinnatisecta © R. Sivinski
©2005 New Mexico Rare Plant Technical Council