Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Fringed Meadow-beauty - Rhexia petiolata   Walter
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Section 6 » Order Myrtales » Family Melastomataceae
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AuthorWalter
DistributionPresent over the southern and central Coastal Plain, and only sparingly in the northern portions. May range barely into the eastern edge of the Piedmont (Nash and Wake counties).

This is another Rhexia species essentially limited to the Coastal Plain, ranging from southeastern VA and south to southern FL and west to eastern TX.
AbundanceIn the Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) zones -- the southeastern portions and the Sandhills, it is fairly common to common. Over much of the Coastal Plain, however, it is uncommon. Very rare into the edge of the Piedmont.
HabitatThis is another classic pine savanna species, growing in well-maintained ones (with fire), as well as in wetter places in pine flatwoods. It also grows in wet powerline clearings, sandhills seepages, and pocosin borders. Most sites are in acidic soil and near pine stands.
PhenologyBlooms from June to September, and fruits shortly after flowering.
IdentificationThis is a distinctive Rhexia, despite its rosy-pink flowers. It is the only one whose flowers face upward, toward the sky, as opposed to outward, facing the horizon. It is a sparingly branched species, reaching only about 1 foot tall, with a handful of short paired leaves, each of which is widely elliptical and strongly ascending. Each leaf is barely 1/2-inch long and 1/3-inch wide, with fine serrations. The few flowers are clustered at the top of the stem, each with pink (to pale rose-pink) petals, the spread flower about 1-inch across. Also, the yellow anthers are erect and straight. The quite short and wide leaves, coupled with upward-facing flowers, are ample features for identification.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Ciliate Meadow-beauty, Short Meadow-beauty, Bog Meadow-beauty
State RankS4
Global RankG5?
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