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Vick, Albert F. W.
Rhexia virginica L.
Meadow beauty, Handsome Harry
Synonym(s): Rhexia stricta, Rhexia virginica var. purshii, Rhexia virginica var. septemnervia
USDA Symbol: RHVI
USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)
Handsome-Harry or meadow-beauty is a 2 ft., (occasionally 3 ft.), hairy perennial with bright-green, thickened oval leaves and showy flowers in loose, nearly terminal clusters. Flowers are rose-pink to pale pink, with 4 petals almost as broad as long on a sturdy 4-sided, slightly winged stem. Surrounding a yellow pistil and ring of 8 stamens are four purplish-red petals which frequently fall off by early afternoon.
Members of this genus have a distinctive urn-shaped fruit that Thoreau once compared to a little cream pitcher. Although the family is mostly tropical, we have at least 10 native species. Awn-petalled Meadow Beauty (R. aristosa) is similar but has very narrow, 3- ribbed, unstalked leaves and sharp-pointed petals. It is found in pine barrens from New Jersey southward. Maryland Meadow Beauty (R. mariana) has 4 lop-sided, pink to white petals and is found in sandy swamps from Massachusetts south to Florida, west to Kentucky and Texas.
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial Habit: Herb Fruit: Size Class:
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
, WV Canada: NS
, ON Native Distribution:
N.S. to NY
s. to n. FL
& TX Native Habitat:
Wetlands; wet meadows; seepage slopes
Growing ConditionsLight Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Wet peat or sandy, acid soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available
BenefitUse Wildlife: The flowers of meadow beauty attract bees. Deer browse the plant.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
turns from green to copper, dry out and become brittle when the seeds are mature. Store the cleaned seeds in a sealed, refrigerated container. Seed Treatment:
Stratify 2-3 months at 40 degrees. Commercially Avail:
National Wetland Indicator Status
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1
(Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here
for map of regions.
From the National Organizations Directory
According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is either on display or available from the following:
- Picayune, MSMt. Cuba Center
- Hockessin, DE
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-MLE-21
Collected 2010-07-24 in Hardin County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Record Last Modified: 2012-08-27
Research By: TWC Staff