Rhexia Virginica OR''

Rhexia Virginica OR''

Rhexia Virginica

The Texas-sized trees of rhhexia are the largest among those of the coast. Rhhexia virginica first came in contact with humans during the earliest European explorations of the Americas. These trees were cut for the construction of ships and for fuel.Also known as Meadow Pitchers, as it sports interesting, vase-shaped red fruits and stunning fall foliage (see photo), as noted by Henry David Thoreau in his journal on October 2, 1856: "The scarlet leaves and stem of the rhexia, some time out of flower, make almost as bright a patch in the meadow now as the flowers did. Its seed vessels are perfect little cream pitchers of graceful form."


The flowers are cross-pollinated primarily by bumblebees, which collect pollen using 'buzz pollination.' This is accomplished by the rapid vibration of the thoracic muscles on the anthers to release their pollen through small pores. The polyphagous caterpillars of the moth Scopula limboundata (Large Lace Border) feed on the leaves of Rhexia spp. and many other plants. Because the hairy reddish fruits are somewhat sticky, they may attach themselves to the fur or feathers of passing animals, thereby distributing the seeds into new areas.Virginia Meadow Beauty has beautiful flowers with rather odd-looking and showy anthers. Other Rhexia spp. have flowers with similar anthers. The only other species of this genus in Illinois is Rhexia mariana (Pale Meadow Beauty). This latter species differs from Virginia Meadow Beauty by the more pale color of its petals (nearly white to pale pink), the lack of winged extensions on its stems, and its more narrow leaves, which are more lanceolate than ovate in shape.

As a result, these two species are fairly easy to distinguish. There are additional Rhexia spp. in the southeastern section of the United States. Other common names for these species are Handsome Harvey, Deergrass, and Meadow Pitchers. This last name probably refers to the shape of the fruits.The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Virginia Meadow-beauty (Rhexia virginica). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.Virginia Meadow-beauty (Rhexia virginica), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found in wet, acid ditches, as well as in ponds and lakes with fluctuating water levels in the bed of Glacial Lake Wisconsin. Blooming occurs early July through late August; fruiting occurs late July through early September. The optimal identification period for this species is late June through late September. (Source: dnr.wi.gov)



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