Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Nash's Meadow-beauty - Rhexia nashii   Small
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Section 6 » Order Myrtales » Family Melastomataceae
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DistributionThroughout the Coastal Plain, with specimens for nearly all counties; ranges sparingly into the eastern Piedmont, to Granville, Guilford, and Anson counties.

This is a Coastal Plain species, ranging from eastern VA south to southern FL and west to LA.
AbundanceCommon and widespread across the Coastal Plain, generally the most numerous Rhexia in that province. Very rare to rare into the eastern Piedmont.
HabitatThis is a wetland species of many habitats, more frequent in pine-dominated habitats, but not restricted to them. It grows in pine savanna margins, powerline clearings, marshes, ditches, pond and pool margins, and damp roadsides.
PhenologyBlooms from May to October, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a "standard" meadow-beauty, being common and often encountered in the Coastal Plain and not limited to rare habitats like limesink ponds and clay-based bays. It is usually sparsely branched, grows to about 1.5 feet tall, and with numerous paired (opposite) leaves. Each leaf is elliptic to broadly lanceolate, about 2 inches long and not quite 1-inch wide, with finely serrated or ciliated leaf margins. In this species, the stem at mid-stem level is unequal, in that one pair of opposite sides is broad and convex, with the opposite pair of sides being narrow, such that when you rotate the stem in your fingers, it is unequal in feel. The flowers are rather large, from the upper axils and branch tips, with 4 rose to rose-pink petals, and a spread flower nearly 2 inches across. (The flower is usually a richer rose color than the pale or light pink in R. mariana.) The hypanthium/capsule has a fairly long neck and is about 1/2-inch long, longer than that of R. mariana. The other two rose-petaled flowers in the Coastal Plain away from bays and limesinks -- R. virginica and R. ventricosa -- have squared sides to the stem, with all 4 sides flat and the same length.
Taxonomic CommentsRAB (1968) and many older references had this taxon as a variety of R. mariana, named as R. mariana var. purpurea. Essentially all references now have this as a good species.

Other Common Name(s)Hairy Meadow-beauty, Maid Marian
State RankS5
Global RankG5
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B.A. SorrieSandhills Game Land, streamhead ecotone by Watson Road. 15 July 2015. ScotlandPhoto_natural
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