Polygala, the name used by Dioscorides, from the Greek polys much or abounding in, and gala milk, this plant had the reputation for promoting milk secretion. Small trees, shrubs or herbs; leaves usually alternate, simple. Flowers irregular in shape, distinct calyx and corolla, sepals 5, petals usually 3, often appearing like a pea-flower but without the large ‘standard’, keel petal is usually crested and the 2 lateral petals are small to rudimentary; stamens 3-10. Carpels usually 2, fruit usually a laterally compressed capsule.