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Rhexia virginica (Handsome-harry)
Cressler, Alan

Rhexia virginica

Rhexia virginica L.

Handsome-harry, Virginia Meadow Beauty, Meadow-beauty

Melastomataceae (Melastome Family)

Synonym(s): Rhexia stricta, Rhexia virginica var. purshii, Rhexia virginica var. septemnervia


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 purplish, 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

28 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct


USA: 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 Conditions

Light Requirement: Part Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Wet peat or sandy, acid soils.


Use Wildlife: The flowers of meadow beauty attract bees. Deer browse the plant.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Seed 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

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 on display at the following locations:

Crosby Arboretum - Picayune, MS
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-MLE-21 Collected 2006-07-23 in Hardin County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 248 - Texas Wildflowers: A Field Guide (1984) Loughmiller, C. & L. Loughmiller

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

From the Archive

Wildflower Newsletter 1985 VOL. 2, NO.3 - Greenhouse Assists Research, Wild color on the Hills, Director's Report, Clearin...

Additional resources

USDA: Find Rhexia virginica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Rhexia virginica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Rhexia virginica


Record Modified: 2023-02-24
Research By: TWC Staff

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