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Dwarf milkwort

Scientific name: Polygala amarella
Dwarf milkwort is a rare plant of chalk and limestone grasslands with short turf; it can mainly be found in Kent, Yorkshire and Cumbria. It has bluish, sometimes pink, flowers atop its short stems.

Species information


Height: 5-25cm

Conservation status


When to see

May to July


Dwarf milkwort is a small, short-lived perennial that can be found on chalk and limestone grasslands, particularly with short turf. It is rare and mainly found in small populations in Kent (hence its other name of 'Kentish milkwort') and the north of England, including Yorkshire and Cumbria. Look for small clusters of tiny bluish or pinky flowers from May to July.

How to identify

Dwarf milkwort is a low-growing plant that has tiny, blue or pink flowers that sit in small clusters atop the stems. Its leaves are elliptical, stalkless and alternate up the stem.


Small populations in Northern England and Kent.

Did you know?

Dwarf milkwort is a member of the family of plants that Medieval herbalists prescribed to nursing mothers in the belief that it made 'milk more abundant'. This idea came from its Greek name of 'much milk', which probably actually referred to the milk they got from the cattle that grazed where it grew.

How people can help

The Wildlife Trusts manage many grassland habitats sympathetically for the benefit of all kinds of wildlife. Careful grazing with traditional breeds, hay-cutting at the right time and scrub clearance are just some of the ways grasslands are kept in good condition - supporting plants and invertebrates and, in turn, the larger animals that prey on them. By volunteering for your local Trust you can help too, and you'll make new friends and learn new skills along the way.