Friday, June 10, 2016

Flower Friday: Pale meadowbeauty is as unique in its design as it is lovely to look at.

Pale meadowbeauty (Rhexia mariana)
Click on terms for botanical definitions.

Pale meadowbeauty is an herbaceous perennial wildflower with showy blooms that vary in color from white to pink. Flowers have four petals, four sepals, and eight long stamens with curving yellow anthers that extend far beyond the bloom. Leaves are narrowly elliptic to lanceolate with three veins and toothed margins. They are oppositely arranged. Stems are hairy, as is the hypanthium, where the seeds develop. The hypanthium is distinctly urn-shaped and long (see photo below), providing a good attribute for identification in all meadowbeauties.

Pale meadowbeauty occurs naturally in wet flatwoods, open savannas, marshes, bogs and wet roadsides. It flowers spring through fall and attracts many bees and butterflies. 

Family: Melastomataceae (also Melastomaceae)
Native range: Throughout Florida except Suwannee, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe counties
To see where natural populations of pale meadowbeauty have been recorded, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Hardiness: Zones 7-10
Soil: Moist, acidic sandy or loamy soils
Urn-shaped hypanthium after petals have fallen off.
Once seeds develop and disperse, it will turn brown and brittle.
Photo by Stacey Matrazzo.

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Growth habit: up to 2’ tall
Propagation: Seeds, cuttings
Garden tips: Although it is not common in the commercial market and is not easily propagated, pale meadowbeauty can do well in a landscape with moist soils. It will sucker and can colonize, but it is not aggressive and will not outcompete other wildflowers.

Pale meadowbeauty is occasionally available from nurseries that specialize in Florida native plants. Visit www.plantrealflorida.org to find a nursery in your area.

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