A Real Beauty is #7!

Whenever I visit a friend or relative in a new city or town, I manage to sneak off for an hour or so and search the fields, lots. or woods for new and exciting wildflowers. A late summer trip to Charleston, South Carolina, was no exception. Here, scattered among the bushes, weeds, and uncut grass was a four-petaled beauty sitting atop a long stalk at a slight angle. A little later, I identified the rosy-pink wildflower as a Rhexia virginica – or Meadow Beauty – sometimes called Deer Grass. The petals are, depending on sunlight reflection, either a light rosy-red, deep pink, or a mixing of the two.

A beautiful Meadow Beauty!

The anthers are a contrasting bright yellow with a somewhat sickle-shaped end. Native bees, including bumble bees, are the principle pollinator and use the technique of “buzz polinating” as they collect the pollen. The vibrations of their wings set the anthers moving and pollen is vibrated onto the bee’s body and re-distributed on the next flower-in-waiting.

Is it Lavender? Pink? Rose?

Meadow Baeautys are not rare or endangered but I have only seen a half dozen since that fateful first encounter. Perhaps the sandy, acidic soil is what is rare in central Georgia. They also are somewhat fragile as a touch of the stem will loosen the petals which cascade to the ground. A wandering bird or tresspassing mammal might cause the flower to shed its petals and disappear from view.

A better view of the sickle shaped anthers. The fruit or seed capsule of the Meadow Beauty is a great study in itself.

Neighboring bloomers might include the ubiquitus Queen Ann’s Lace or Wild Carrot – an ancestor of our domesticated orange carrot. QAL has a white carrot root with a very strong carrot smell – unmistakable.

The birds-nest effect of a Queen Ann’s Lace composite blossom becomes more pronounces as the bloom ages.

. Also in the area would be another European immigrant – the Ox-Eye Daisy with its bright yellow centers and “He Loves Me Not” petals.

Ox-Eyes would be a neighbor to the Meadow Beauty. Here a Purple Blazing Star rises to the top.

Several varieties of clover including the common White Clover, a Red Clover, and surely the diminutive Hop Clover varieties – a splash of yellow on the vacant lot floor – would be found.

Yellow Hop Clover sun-bathing in the crabgrass.

On the edge of the open areas, one might find a fasciating vine – the Passion Flower or Maypop – with its very complex purple bloom.

The Purple Passion Flower prduces a small gourd fruit by summer’s end.
One last look showing the entire plant with buds, new flowers, aged blossoms, and seed capsules. Note how the yellow anthers are the key to a positive identification of the Meadow Beauty.

1 thought on “A Real Beauty is #7!

  1. BEAUTIFUL photos – did appreciate ❤️

    ________________________________

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