There is nothing “common” about this plant. The rose-pink hue of the flower is really astounding. Each flower has 5 pink petals and 5 stamens with yellow anthers. The central yellow style is split in two, adding a festive “pop” to the center of the flower. At the base of each petal is a splash of yellow outlined in red; the net effect is a delightful star pattern. I hearby rename this wildflower “Pretty in Pink”!
Rose-pink grows up to 2 feet tall and the flowers are each about 1.5 inches across. The flowers are borne at the top of the plant in small groups. The leaves are opposite, simple, oval, and entire (smooth margins).
Flowering in July through September, this native biennial prefers moist soils and sunny locations. I found this group growing in full sun near a pond at Glen Alton, in Giles County, Virginia.
The plant is a member of the Gentian family. The flowers close up at night and re-open each morning.