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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 346. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/25/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted

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1. Rhexia L. (meadow beauty) (Kral and Bostick, 1969)

Plants perennial herbs, sometimes slightly woody at the base. Pubescence of relatively long, spreading, bristly hairs, these all or mostly with dark glandular tips. Stems solitary or few, erect or ascending, often 4-angled or -winged above the basal portion. Leaves opposite, sessile or short-petiolate. Stipules absent. Leaf blades simple, with 3(5) palmate main veins more or less parallel to the margins, narrowed or tapered to a sharply pointed tip, narrowed or rounded at the base, the margins sharply and finely toothed, the teeth often hair-tipped. Inflorescences usually appearing as small panicles, with small loose clusters subtended by small leaflike bracts at the nodes (these often shed by fruiting). Flowers with the perianth actinomorphic and the stamens and to some extent the pistil zygomorphic, perfect, epigynous (but the hypanthium often becoming somewhat free from the mature fruits and the ovary then appearing superior). Hypanthium tubular at flowering, persistent and becoming urn-shaped as the fruit matures, extended past the ovary as a short necklike tube. Calyces of 4 free lobelike sepals at the hypanthium tip, these 2–4 mm long, triangular, sharply pointed at the tip, persistent at fruiting. Corollas of 4 free petals, these spreading, somewhat asymmetrically oblong to broadly obovate, rounded or with an abrupt small narrow point at the tip, pink to rose-purple (rare white forms not yet found in Missouri). Stamens 8, strongly exserted at flowering, subequal in size, the filaments fused to the inner apical portion of the hypanthium, S-shaped and curved downward, the anthers 5–8 mm long, attached just above their bases, strongly curved outward, yellow, dehiscing by terminal pores. Pistil of 4 fused carpels, inferior (but often appearing superior at fruiting). Ovary 4-locular, the placentation axile. Style 1 per flower, somewhat curved downward, about as long as the stamens (including the anthers), the stigma depressed-capitate to somewhat disc-shaped, entire or nearly so. Ovules numerous. Fruits capsules, dehiscing irregularly and longitudinally between the sutures. Seeds numerous, 0.4–0.7 mm long, flattened and spiral-shaped (snail-shell-shaped), the surface brown, with several concentric, spiralled ridges along the sides and especially along the keel, these varying from smooth to warty or tubercled. Eleven species, U.S., Canada, Caribbean Islands, most diverse along the Atlantic and Gulf Coastal Plains.

Meadow beauties often occur in dense colonies and are very attractive when flowering. They can be cultivated successfully in the garden if planted in moist sandy or otherwise acidic soils. The stems of Rhexia species often persist through the winter, leafless but with noticeable, persistent, urn-shaped hypanthia. These are sometimes used in dried flower arrangements.

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