Meadow Pink Texas Star Sabatia campestris Sabatia angularis

Meadow Pink is a small, native, annual, pink-flowering plant found primarily in the southern US. Its other common names include Rose Gentian, Prairie Rose-gentian, Texas Star and Prairie sabatia. 

The five-petaled flowers are an inch or two across and the plants are one to two feet tall. Meadow Pinks spread by seed to form colonies. The challenge is to leave them alone during spring weeding since the new rosettes pop up where you least expect them and are easy to forget from year to year.

Sabatia prefers dry garden soils that have good drainage; a sandy place would be perfect.

Sabatia angularis, Rosepink, is available from seed companies (www.prairie moon.com). It is also a Gentian, sometimes called Marshpink, Bitterbloom, Rosepink and Rose Gentian. Sabatia kennedyana, Bog Sabadia for wetlands, seeds are available from carniverousplantnursery.com

Sabatias are biennials, They grow a rosette of leaves the first year, then have pink, gold and magenta flowers on multi-branched stems, followed by seed capsules. Their names are mixed together with references using Sabatia campestris and Sabatia angularis interchangeably.

In the center of each flower there is a bright green star with yellow anthers. Sabatias are hermaphrodite; each flower has both male and female organs.

They bloom very little during drought years unless supplemental water is provided. Plant seeds in spring or fall by pressing them into the soil surface in part sun. 

Liberato Sabbati, an 18th Century Italian botanist and author of Hortus Romanus, provided the Latin name. One of my native plant references, printed in 1966, says that Sabatia had no common names at that time, but the author, Harold Rickett, identifies and describes 16 varieties that bloom across the south. Five more varieties have been located and named.

The common name Bitter Bloom stems from when the plants’ leaves were used to make a medicinal tonic that was bitter to taste. 

Sabatias appear on endangered wildflower lists around the country and planting some could help turn the tide.

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