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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 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 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
Plant CharacteristicsDuration: Perennial
Fruit Type: Capsule
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Bloom InformationBloom Color: Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: May , Jun , Jul , Aug , Sep , Oct
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.
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
Web ReferenceWebref 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 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: 2023-02-24
Research By: TWC Staff