Sunday, November 22, 2015

Apalachicola Meadowbeauty - Rhexia parviflora

Apalachicola meadowbeauty (Rhexia parviflora) is an especially rare member of this common genus and listed as a state endangered species. Found in Florida only in the central and western Panhandle counties, it also has a very limited distribution in parts of adjacent Georgia and Alabama. Throughout its limited range, it is resident to moist soil habitats such as seepage slopes, depression marshes, and the upper edges of cypress domes. The plants photographed above were found growing in about 1 inch of water at the edge of an isolated cypress dome in the Apalachicola National Forest in mid-August.
Apalachicola meadowbeauty is a perennial herb that dies back to the ground in winter. It emerges in spring, but remains small and can go largely unnoticed in the understory vegetation until it blooms in summer. Few plants reach a mature height of 16 inches; most are less than 1 foot tall. The stems are square and somewhat "hairy", while the leaves are 1/2-1 inch long, oval in shape and attached to the main stem by a petiole. No other meadowbeauty in Florida combines this feature with white petals. The common pale meadow beauty (R. mariana)  is only sometimes white, does not have leaf stalks, and normally occurs in drier habitats.
The flowers are composed of four bright rounded white petals and are normally less than 1 inch across. The reproductive parts are bright yellow and the anthers curl slightly backward. The blooms mostly attract the attention of bees.
Apalachicola meadowbeauty is one of many examples of how unique the state's flora is. This is a difficult plant to locate and requires some sleuthing in wet habitats during the summer to locate it. If you do, simply admire it for its subtle beauty. Do not attempt to collect any portion of it for any purpose without permits. This is not a specimen for use in a home landscape. There are many, more common species better for that purpose.


  1. Apalachicola is an area of Florida I would like to explore. Speaking of permits. How amenable are the authorities to permits for collecting and bringing home FL native seeds and cuttings? One day I should like to approach them regards this topic.


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