||Covering over 500 species of almost every growth form except tall trees, this genus is very widespread. The foliage ranges from small and linear to large and oval but is usually simple with smooth edges. The flowers have a pea-flower-like structure with distinct wings and a keel, which usually has a feathery tuft that is unique to polygalas. The flowers, carried in clusters or racemes, come in a range of colors, with purple and pink dominating. They are followed by small seed pods.
||CULTIVATION: While frost hardiness varies considerable with the species, most prefer a light well-drained soil with a position in sun or partial shade. The European and American alpine species are ideal subjects for pots or troughs. The shrubby species can be trimmed or pruned to shape, spring usually being the best time as it ensures the speediest recovery. The small spreading shrubs seldom need any trimming other than occasional pinching back. Propagate from seed, layers or cuttings.