Polygala lutea is a biennial or perennial herb to 40 cm tall, stems often clustered.
Leaves of basal rosette widest above middle, to 5 cm long, stem leaves becoming narrower and smaller upwards to 3 cm.
Flowers orange, irregular, to 0.7 cm, in dense, head-like clusters to 3 cm long, 1.8 cm wide at the end of a leafless stalk to 10 cm long at top of plant; blooming.
Fruit a capsule, seeds hairy, with a fleshy appendage (aril). Arilate seeds generally considered to be adapted for dispersal by ants (see Claytonia).
Wetland status: FACW+.
Frequency in NYC: Rare, NYS S1, E.
Habitat: Sandy acid bogs of coastal plain (a pine barrens bog plant).