Arizona Game and Fish Department 2003, Kearney and Peebles 1969, McDougall 1973, USDA NRCS 2012
Duration: Perennial Nativity: Native Lifeform: Subshrub General: Herbaceous perennials, sometimes becoming somewhat shrubby, stems few, to 20 cm tall or less, relatively stout, herbage pilose. Leaves: Alternate, ovate to ovate-oblong, 3-12 mm wide, acute to obtuse at the tips, margins entire. Flowers: Rose-purple and showy, petals 3 with 2 wings and a keel, these united at the base, wing petals oblong, 8-10 mm long, keel petal with a very stout, blunt yellow beak, sepals 5, pubescent to ciliate, the outer with a small sac at the base, stamens 8, united, flowers several, borne in terminal or lateral racemes. Fruits: Capsules broadly obovate with 2 cells, emarginated, surfaces nearly smooth. Seeds pubescent. Ecology: Found in desert grassland and juniper woodlands, from 3,000-5,000 ft (914-1524 m); flowering April-July. Distribution: Arizona only. Notes: The fleshy, pubescent, bluish-green leaves and purple flowers with yellow keel petals help distinguish this species. Ethnobotany: There is no use recorded for this species, but other species in this genus have uses. Synonyms: None Editor: LCrumbacher 2012 Etymology: Polygala comes from the Greek polys, "many or much," and gala, "milk," since it was thought that the presence of some of the species in a pasture increased the yield of milk, while rusbyi is named for Henry Hurd Rusby, who was influential in promoting the study of economic botany at The New York Botanical Garden throughout the first fifty years of its existence.