(Rhexia Virginica) Meadow-beauty family

Flowers - Purplish pink, 1 to 1 1/2 in. across, pedicelled,

clustered at top of stem. Calyx 4-lobed, tubular or urn-shaped,

narrowest at neck; 4 rounded, spreading petals, joined for half

their length; 8 equal, prominent stamens in 2 rows; pistil. Stem:

1 to 1 1/2 ft. high, square, more or less hairy, erect, sometimes

branching at top. Leaves: Opposite, ascending, seated on stem,

oval, acute at tip, mostly 5-nerved, the margins saw-edged.

Preferred Habitat - Sandy swamps or near water.

Flowering Season - July-September.

Distribution - United States, chiefly east of Mississippi.

Suggesting a brilliant magenta evening primrose in form, the

meadow-beauty is likewise a rather niggardly bloomer, only a few

flowers in each cluster opening at once; but where masses adorn

our marshes, we cannot wonder so effective a plant is exported to

European peat gardens. Its lovely sister, the MARYLAND

MEADOW-BEAUTY (R. Mariana), a smaller, less brilliant flower,

found no farther north than the swamps and pine barrens of New

Jersey, also goes abroad to be admired; yet neither is of any

value for cutting, for the delicate petals quickly discolor and

drop off when handled. Blossoms so attractively colored naturally

have many winged visitors to transfer their pollen. All too soon

after fertilization the now useless petals fall, leaving the

pretty urn-shaped calyx, with the large yellow protruding

stamens, far more conspicuous than some flowers. "Its

seed-vessels are perfect little cream pitchers of graceful form,"

said Thoreau. Within the smooth capsule the minute seeds are

coiled like snail-shells.

MAYFLOWERS MEADOWSWEET QUAKER LADY QUEENOFTHEMEADOW facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail