The Polygalaceae or the milkwort family are made up of flowering plants in the order Fabales. They have a near-cosmopolitan range, with about 21 genera and ca. 900 known species of herbs, shrubs and trees. Over half of the species are in one genus, Polygala, the milkworts. Polygalaceae are annual or perennial herbs, shrubs, shrublets, and small trees. Its zygomorphic, hermaphrodite, bisexual flowers have 3-5 petals and 5 sepals. Its leaves are usually alternate, but may be opposite, fascicled, or verticillate. Each flower usually contains 8 stamens, though this may range from 3 to 10. They are usually in 2 series. The fruits of each plant can be a capsule, samara, or drupe. Polygala is a large genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Polygalaceae. They are commonly known as milkworts or snakeroots. The genus name Polygala comes from the ancient Greek "much milk", as the plant was thought to increase milk yields in cattle.