Nature conservation

Threatened species

Native Milkwort - profile

Indicative distribution

   Loading map...
The areas shown in pink and/purple are the sub-regions where the species or community is known or predicted to occur. They may not occur thoughout the sub-region but may be restricted to certain areas. ( click here to see geographic restrictions). The information presented in this map is only indicative and may contain errors and omissions.
Scientific name: Polygala linariifolia
Conservation status in NSW: Endangered
Commonwealth status: Not listed
Profile last updated: 15 Jun 2020


Native Milkwort is an annual or perennial herb about 20 cm high with a woody tap root and more-or-less upright branches. Its leaves are up to 3.5 cm long, variable in shape but usually oval, and often broader towards the tips. They have a short point at the tip and are dull in texture as they are sparsely covered in short hairs. Small groups of flowers appear in spring-summer, and are bluish purple, yellowish or occasionally white. The flattened fruit capsule is a broad oblong with a narrow wing, and the seeds are black with white hairs.


North from Copeton Dam and the Warialda area to southern Queensland; also found on the NSW north coast near Casino and Kyogle, and there is an isolated population in far western NSW near Weebah Gate, west of Hungerford. This species also occurs in Western Australia.

Habitat and ecology

  • Sandy soils in dry eucalypt forest and woodland with a sparse understorey. The species has been recorded from the Inverell and Torrington districts growing in dark sandy loam on granite in shrubby forest of Eucalyptus caleyi, Eucalyptus dealbata and Callitris, and in yellow podsolic soil on granite in layered open forest.
  • In the Pilliga area, this species has been recorded in Fuzzy Box woodland, White Cypress Pine-Bulloak - Ironbark woodland, Rough-barked Apple riparian forb-grass open forest, and Ironbark - Brown Bloodwood shrubby woodland.
  • Other associated species include Eucalyptus trachyphloia, Eucalyptus sphaerocarpa, Angophora floribunda, Angophora leiocarpa, Lophostemon suaveolens, Corymbia henryi, Allocasuarina torulosa and Wahlenbergia species in the understorey.
  • Flowers from spring to summer.
  • Has been recorded as rare, sparse, occasional and common in populations.
  • Recent surveys in the Pilliga area observed significant declines in populations over autumn and winter, apparently the result of P. linariifolia increasing with the previous summer's high rainfall then declining under below-average conditions.

Regional distribution and habitat

Click on a region below to view detailed distribution, habitat and vegetation information.


Recovery strategies

Activities to assist this species

Information sources

IBRA Bioregion IBRA Subregion Known or predicted Geographic restrictions region
Brigalow Belt SouthLiverpool Plains Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthNorthern Basalts Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthNorthern Outwash Predicted None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Known None
Brigalow Belt SouthPilliga Outwash Known None
Darling Riverine PlainsCastlereagh-Barwon Predicted None
Mulga LandsUrisino Sandplains Predicted None
NandewarInverell Basalts Known None
NandewarKaputar Predicted None
NandewarNandewar Northern Complex Known None
NandewarPeel Known None
New England TablelandsBeardy River Hills Predicted None
New England TablelandsBinghi Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsBundarra Downs Known None
New England TablelandsDeepwater Downs Predicted None
New England TablelandsEastern Nandewars Known None
New England TablelandsGlenn Innes-Guyra Basalts Known None
New England TablelandsMoredun Volcanics Predicted None
New England TablelandsNortheast Forest Lands Predicted None
New England TablelandsSevern River Volcanics Known None
New England TablelandsTenterfield Plateau Predicted None
New England TablelandsTingha Plateau Known None
New England TablelandsYarrowyck-Kentucky Downs Predicted None
NSW North CoastCataract Known None
NSW North CoastCoffs Coast and Escarpment Predicted None
NSW North CoastDalmorton Known None
Other StateQLD Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Lowlands Known None
South Eastern QueenslandClarence Sandstones Known None
South Eastern QueenslandWoodenbong Known None