37. Polygala chinensis Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 704. 1753.
华南远志 hua nan yuan zhi
Herbs annual, erect, 10-25 cm tall. Primary roots orange, stout. Stems woody at base; branches terete, crisped pubescent. Petiole ca. 1 mm, pubescent; leaf blade green, obovate, elliptic, or lanceolate, 2.6-10 × 1-1.5 cm, papery, pubescent, midvein raised abaxially, impressed adaxially, lateral veins few, obscure, base cuneate to rounded or cordate, margin entire, slightly recurved, apex obtuse, mucronate, or acuminate. Racemes super-axillary, rarely axillary, shorter than leaves, only ca. 1 cm, densely few flowered. Pedicel ca. 1.5 mm; basal bracts 2, caducous, lanceolate. Flowers ca. 4.5 mm. Sepals 5, persistent, green, ciliate; outer sepals 3, ovate-lanceolate, ca. 2 mm, apex acuminate; inner sepals 2, petaloid, falcate, ca. 4.5 mm, conspicuously 4- or 5-veined, base unguiculate, apex acuminate. Petals 3, connate at base, yellowish or white with pink; lateral petals shorter than keel, inside with fascicled white hairs at base; keel ca. 4 mm, apex with 2 fascicled appendages. Stamens 8, lower 1/2 united forming an open staminal sheath, split in upper 1/2 into 8 free filaments; anthers narrowly ovoid. Ovary compressed-orbicular, ca. 1 mm in diam., ciliate; style curved, apex hooklike; stigma in hook. Capsule globose, ca. 2 mm in diam., narrowly winged, ciliate, apex retuse. Seeds black, ovoid, densely white pubescent; strophiole white, cucullate, 2-lobed. Fl. Apr-Oct, fr. May-Nov.
Grasslands, shrub forests on slopes of hills; 500-1100 m. Fujian, Guangdong, Guangxi, Guizhou, Hainan, Sichuan, Taiwan, Yunnan, Zhejiang [Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam].
Three somewhat indistinct varieties are recognized in China. However, given the wide range of variation in this species seen outside of China, their status warrants re-examination.