Nuttall’s Meadowbeauty, Beach Botany

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Purple and yellow
Combine to tempt the senses
To succumb to love.

Nuttall’s Meadowbeauty, Rhexia nuttallii, is a herbaceous perennial that frequents  flatwoods, bogs, and savannas in Florida’s northern and central counties. Nuttallii  grows from an elongated rhizome deep in moist soils. A single unbranched stem barely reaches a foot in height.  The  stem is reddish, square and covered with tiny hairs. Pairs of ovate leaves are slightly separated from other pairs so that the stem is visible.  Leaf pairs are also at right angles from the pair below and the pair above. Leaves are dark green ½ inch long and ½ inch wide. Tiny hairs appear on the leaf margins.  There are three main veins in the leaf where most plant species have one.

A showy pink to purple four petal flower is found at the tip of the stem.  Eight elongated yellow male stamens with anvil like anthers surround a single white female style.

There are  ten species in genus Rhexia.  Eight of the species have linear leaves. Nutallii and one other species have ovate leaves.  I found this Nuttallii in Fisheating Creek Wildlife Park in Glades county.

 

Dorothy Rodwell

Photo by James A. Rodwell