Rhexia virginica L.
Handsome-harry, Virginia Meadow Beauty
Melastomataceae (Melastome Family)
Synonym(s): Rhexia stricta, Rhexia virginica var. purshii, Rhexia virginica var. septemnervia
USDA Symbol: RHVI
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.
From the Image Gallery
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep
DistributionUSA: AL , AR , CT , DC , DE , FL , GA , IA , IL , IN , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OK , PA , RI , SC , TN , TX , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NS , ON
Native Distribution: N.S. to NY & WI, 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
PropagationSeed Collection: The fruit 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: yes
National Wetland Indicator Status
From the National Organizations DirectoryAccording to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:
Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
Wildflower Center Seed BankLBJWC-MLE-21 Collected 2006-07-23 in Hardin County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
BibliographyBibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller
Search More Titles in Bibliography
Research LiteratureReslit 251 - Genetic diversity of seven deciduous azalea species (Rhododendron spp. section Pentanthera) native to the eastern United States (2008) M. Chappell, C. Robacker and T. M. Jenkins
Reslit 284 - Investigating parentage and hybridity of three azaleodendrons using amplified fragment length polymorphism analysis (2007) R. N. Contreras, T. G. Ranney, S. R. Milla-Lewis a...
Reslit 765 - Attaining inter-subgeneric hybrids in fragrant azalea breeding and the inheritance of organelle DNA (2008) N. Kobayashi, D. Mizuta, A. Nakatsuka and M. Akaba...
Reslit 945 - Development of multiplex PCR markers to distinguish evergreen and deciduous azaleas (2008) D. Mizuta, A. Nakatsuka and N. Kobayashi
Reslit 1450 - Identification of resistance to azalea lace bug among deciduous azalea taxa (1998) Y. F. Wang, C. D. Robacker and S. K. Braman
Reslit 1997 - Cold Hardiness of Various Provenances of Flame, Roseshell, and Swamp Azaleas (1991) N. E. Pellett, N. Rowan and J. Aleong
This information was provided by the Florida WIldflower Foundation.
Search More Titles in Research Literature
From the ArchiveWildflower Newsletter 1985 VOL. 2, NO.3 - Greenhouse Assists Research, Wild color on the Hills, Director's Report, Clearin...
Additional resourcesUSDA: Find Rhexia virginica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Rhexia virginica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Rhexia virginica
MetadataRecord Modified: 2017-11-15
Research By: TWC Staff