E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Polygala senega L.
Seneca-snakeroot (Seneca snakeroot)
Polygalaceae (Milkwort family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Curtis Bjork  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #24944)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Polygala senega
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a thick stembase and stout taproot; stems ascending to erect, several, usually simple, minutely hairy, 10-50 cm tall.
Basal leaves lacking; stem leaves lanceolate to egg-shaped, alternate, lowest ones reduced to scales, 1-3 cm long, margins chaffy and toothed.
Inflorescence of dense, terminal, oblong racemes; corollas greenish-white, 4-5 mm wide; sepals winged, the wings roundish egg-shaped, wider than long.
Capsules, round, 2.5-3.5 mm long; seeds 2.5 mm long, hairy.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to mesic grassy slopes in the montane zone; rare in NE BC, known only from Pouce CoupȨ; E to NB and S to AR, TN, GA and SD.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Polygala senega

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 2073 2073 2073
Slope Gradient (%) 30 30 30
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
280 280 280
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
3 3 3
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: ESSF(1)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Polygala senega var. latifolia Torr. & A. Gray

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References