Rhexia mariana

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Rhexia mariana
Rhexia mariana 1 MMS.jpg
Photo taken by Michelle M. Smith, Thomasville, Georgia
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta - Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Order: Myrtales
Family: Melastomataceae
Genus: Rhexia
Species: R. mariana
Binomial name
Rhexia mariana
Rhex mari dist.jpg
Natural range of Rhexia mariana from USDA NRCS Plants Database.

Common names: Maryland meadow-beauty, Pale Meadow-beauty, Dull Meadow-beauty

Taxonomic notes

Synonyms: Rhexia mariana var. leiosperma Fernald & Griscom; R. delicatula Small

Variety: Rhexia mariana Linnaeus var. mariana


R. mariana is distinguished from R. cubensis by not having cubensis seeds, and having narrower leaves, uniformly smaller flowers, and a smaller hypanthia. It has been observed to be non-tuberiferous and rhizomatous. It is also capable of forming clones.[1]

"Erect, herbaceous, hermaphroditic, cymose perennials. Leaves opposite, sessile or petioles to 2 mm long. Flowers 4-merous, floral parts perigynous; stamens 8, anthers 1-locular, poricidal, usually with a basal spur. Capsules globose or subglobose; hypanthium cylindrical in anthesis, urceolate at maturity; stipes or pedicels 2-4.5 mm long; seeds brownish or yellowish, crescent-shape, papillose lined, 0.5-1 mm long except for R. petiolate and R. alifanus."[2]

"Hirsute branches or unbranched perennial; frequently colonial from elongate, horizontal roots; stems to 8 dm tall, faces unequal. Leaves linear, elliptic, lanceolate, ovate, or obovate, to 6.5 cm long and 2 cm wide, sparsely hirsute, 3-nerved, acute, ciliate-serrate, base rounded to attenuate. Sepals linear, 1-2.5 mm long; petals purplish to white, 10-25 mm long; anthers 6-10 mm long. Capsules 4.5-7 mm in diam., hypanthium usually 6-10 mm long, glandular hirsute or glabrous, neck ca. equaling body."[2]


Distributed in the Coastal Plain from eastern Massachusetts south to Florida and across to Texas.[3]



In the Coastal Plain, Rhexia mariana has occurred in titi swamps, pine-saw palmetto flatwoods, sedgy swales in ancient dunes, shaded areas adjacent to cypress ponds, river floodplain forests, a clearing by a cypress-titi swamp, pine flatwoods, seepage bogs, pond margins, saw palmetto savanna bogs, open lake flats, live oak-longleaf pine woodlands, mixed hardwood/cabbage palm hammocks, turkey oak/longleaf pine scrubs and boggy seepage slopes. It has been observed in disturbed sites such as railroad banks bordering low pinelands, moist roadside ditches, secondary grazed upland hammocks, and bulldozed slash pine-saw palmetto flatwoods. Soil types include white sand, sandy peat, loamy sand, sandy loam and loam.

R. mariana increased its frequency in response to soil disturbance by clearcutting and chopping in North Florida flatwoods forests. It has shown regrowth in reestablished flatwood habitat that was disturbed by these practices.[4]

Associated species include Rhexia cubensis, Eleocharis melanocarpa, Ilex, Andropogon, Pinus palustris, Panicum, Hyptis, Eriocaulon, Aletris, Sabatia bartamii, Manisuris rugosa, Rhynchospora, Myrica, Magnolia virginiana, Persea borbonia, Smilax, Liatris spicata, Hypericum gymnathum, Juncus, and sweetgum.[1]

Rhexia mariana var. mariana is an indicator species for the Wet Depression Prairies community type as described in Carr et al. (2010).[5]


R. mariana has been observed flowering April to November with peak inflorescence in July and fruits May through October.[1][6]

Seed dispersal

Fruits are dry and dehiscent.[7] This species is thought to be dispersed by gravity.[8]

Seed bank and germination

Seeds and rhizomes are able to persist in the soil for several years until conditions are ideal for germination.[9] This plant was found in the seed banks of depression bays in western South Carolina that are dominated by shrubs, forests, and herbaceous vegetation.[10]

Fire ecology

Rhexia mariana has been observed growing in annually burned longleaf pinewoods and a burned bayhead.[1] Populations have been known to persist through repeated annual burning.[11]


Rhexia mariana was observed at the Archbold Biological Station with pollinators from the Apidae family such as Bombus impatiens and sweat bees from the Halictidae family such as Augochloropsis anonyma and A. metallica[12] The foliage of R. mariana is eaten by deer.[9]

Conservation, cultivation, and restoration

Cultural use

It is possible the greens and tubers can be used in salads for a sweetish, nutty taste.[13]

Photo Gallery

References and notes

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Florida State University Robert K. Godfrey Herbarium database. URL: http://herbarium.bio.fsu.edu. Last accessed: November 2015. Collectors: P. Adams, Loran C. Anderson, Wilson Baker, R.R. Bounds, Jane Brockmann, Andre F. Clewell, R.A. Davidson, D.L. Fichtner, H.E. Grelen, Robert K. Godfrey, R.D. Houk, C.W. James, Gary R. Knight, R. Komarek, Robert Kral, O. Lakela, C.W. James, John Morrill, T. Myint, R.A. Norris, Jackie Patman, Gwynn W. Ramsey, James D. Ray Jr., P.L. Redfearn, Cecil R. Slaughter, R.R. Smith, R.F. Thorne, E. Tyson, Jean W. Wooten. States and Counties: Florida: Bay, Brevard, Calhoun, Citrus, Collier, Columbia, DeSoto, Dixie, Escambia, Flagler, Franklin, Gadsden, Glades, Hernando, Hillsborough, Holmes, Indian River, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Lee, Leon, Levy, Liberty, Madison, Pasco, Polk, Putnam, Sumter, Taylor, Wakulla, Washington. Georgia: Grady, Thomas. North Carolina: Wilson. Compiled by Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Radford, Albert E., Harry E. Ahles, and C. Ritchie Bell. Manual of the Vascular Flora of the Carolinas. 1964, 1968. The University of North Carolina Press. 743. Print.
  3. [[1]] Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. Accessed: March 7, 2016
  4. Moore, W.H., B.F. Swindel, and W.S. Terry. (1982). Vegetative Response to Clearcutting and Chopping in a North Florida Flatwoods Forest. Journal of Range Management 35(2):214-218.
  5. Carr, S.C., K.M. Robertson, and R.K. Peet. 2010. A vegetation classification of fire-dependent pinelands of Florida. Castanea 75:153-189.
  6. Nelson, G. PanFlora: Plant data for the eastern United States with emphasis on the Southeastern Coastal Plains, Florida, and the Florida Panhandle. www.gilnelson.com/PanFlora/ Accessed: 13 DEC 2016
  7. [[2]]Go Botany. Accessed: March 7, 2016
  8. Kirkman, L. Katherine. Unpublished database of seed dispersal mode of plants found in Coastal Plain longleaf pine-grasslands of the Jones Ecological Research Center, Georgia.
  9. 9.0 9.1 [[3]]Accessed: March 7, 2016
  10. Navarra, J. J. and P. F. Quintana-Ascencio 2012. Spatial pattern and composition of the Florida scrub seed bank and vegetation along an anthropegenic disturbance gradient. Applied Vegetation Science 15:349-358.
  11. Platt, W.J., R. Carter, G. Nelson, W. Baker, S. Hermann, J. Kane, L. Anderson, M. Smith, K. Robertson. 2021. Unpublished species list of Wade Tract old-growth longleaf pine savanna, Thomasville, Georgia.
  12. Deyrup, M.A. and N.D. 2015. Database of observations of Hymenoptera visitations to flowers of plants on Archbold Biological Station, Florida, USA.
  13. Fernald, et al. 1958. Edible Plants of Eastern North America. Harper and Row Publishers, New York.