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Drumheads Polygala cruciata

The range distribution maps for the Drumheads are from the Plants Database of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).


Drumheads are found from Maine west to Minnesota, and south to Texas.  In Florida, they are found throughout the state but are rare in the southern part of the state.  Other common names for Drumheads include Cross-leaf Milkwort, Cross-leaved Milkwort, and Cross Milkwort. Their habitat includes wet pine flatwoods and wet lowlands.

This annual plant grows to a height of about one foot.  Its leaves are usually in whorls of threes or fours and average from 0.5-inch to 1.5-inches in length.  They form a cross-like pattern.

A cylindrical flower head, called a raceme, forms at the top of the stem.  It is densely packed with small flowers that open progressively from the bottom upwards.  Two of the sepals of each flower are formed into petal-like wings.  They are white when fresh, but gradually turn pinkish violet, which is the dominant color of the raceme.  The actual flowers themselves are yellowish in color.  The flowers bloom from March through September.

The photos on this page were taken in the Myakka State Forest in the northwestern part of Charlotte County.