Maid Marian

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The beautiful maid, a mosaic of textures grows tall in the bogs.

Maid Marian, Rhexia nashii, is a perennial herb that grows from buried rhizomes to a height of 5 feet. This species resides in bogs and wet flatwoods in northern and central counties.  The Maid has not been found in the southern portions of the State.  A single erect and square reddish stem supports the plant.  Stem is heavily covered in tiny hairs. Leaves are lanceolate to elliptic in shape and range 1 to 6 inches in length. The leaf margins are both toothed and hairy.  Stem leaves are opposite one another and are widely spaced exposing the stem.  At the junction of the leaf and the stem, the leaf axil, are a pair of tiny linear leaves that are perpendicular to the stem leaf. Looks just like a little bowtie.

Maid’s flower is quite showy.  The flower grows from a ½ inch long urn-like floral tube, called a hypanthium that houses the female ovary-bearing pistil. Four lavender to purple-colored petals make up the corolla (bloom). Tiny glandular hairs are found on the back of the petals. There are eight lengthy yellow male stamens with long anthers carrying pollen surrounding a single white female style is at the center of the corolla. Fruit is a capsule.

There are ten species in the genus Rhexia that reside in Florida.  The most common species is the Pale Meadowbeauty, R. mariana. Rhexia species are found in the Southeastern States.  The specimen in the picture was taken in the Lake Wales Box Tower Gardens.

 

Dorothy Rodwell