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Friday, June 16, 2017

Flower Friday: Fringed meadowbeauty

Photo by Mary Keim
Fringed meadowbeauty (Rhexia petiolata
Click on terms for botanical definitions. 

Fringed meadowbeauty is an herbaceous perennial wildflower. Its showy pink blooms have four petals, five sepals and eight short stamens with yellow anthers. Petal margins are wavy. Leaves are ovate, petiolate and have ciliate margins. They are oppositely arranged. Stems are glabrous, as is the hypanthium, where the seeds develop. The hypanthium is distinctly urn-shaped, providing a good attribute for identification in all meadowbeauties. 

Fringed meadowbeauty's ciliate leaf margins and smooth hypanthium.
Photo by Eleanor Dietrich
Fringed meadowbeauty occurs naturally in wet prairies, bogs and flatwoods, and along coastal swales. It flowers spring through summer and attracts many pollinators, especially bees. Most meadowbeauties are buzz pollinated

Fringed meadowbeauty is often confused with Nuttall’s meadowbeauty (Rhexia nuttallii), which occurs in similar habitats and geographic range. The hypanthium of Nuttall’s meadowbeauty, however, is covered in conspicuous hairs, while fringed meadowbeauty’s is smooth. 

Family: Melastomataceae (also Melastomaceae) 
Native range: Panhandle, north and central peninsula, and Lee and Collier counties 
To see where natural populations of fringed meadowbeauty have been recorded, visit www.florida.plantatlas.usf.edu. 
Hardiness: Zones 7-9 
Soil: Moist, acidic soils 
Exposure: Full sun to minimal shade 
Growth habit: up to 2’ tall 
Garden tips: Fringed meadowbeauty is not commercially cultivated and does not persist in the landscape. Look for it in its natural setting.

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