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dwarf spiraea, shinyleaf meadowsweet

Habit Shrubs, 3–10(–15) dm. Shrubs, subshrubs, or herbs, perennial (Aruncus); unarmed.

erect to arching, branched.


petiole 3–8 mm, sparsely hairy;

blade ovate to elliptic or suborbiculate, 2–10 × 1–2.5 cm, coriaceous, base obtuse, rounded, or subcordate, margins irregularly, coarsely and sharply doubly serrate from midpoint to apex, teeth acute and mucronate, number of primary and secondary serrations 1 times number of secondary veins (excluding inter-secondary veins), venation pinnate cladodromous, secondary veins not prominent, apex acute, obtuse, or rounded, abaxial surface mostly glabrous, adaxial glabrous.

alternate, simple or pinnately compound;

stipules absent;

venation pinnate, sometimes palmate.


mostly terminal, corymbiform, 2–5 × 3–10 cm height 0.4–1.1 times diam.;

branches rarely in axils of leaves, glabrous or glabrate.


1–3 mm, glabrous or glabrate.


4–7 mm diam.;

hypanthia hemispheric, 0.8–1 mm, abaxial surface glabrous or pubescent, adaxial glabrous;

sepals triangular, 0.5–1 mm;

petals chalky white to pink, orbiculate, 1.3–1.5 mm;

staminodes 5–15 reduced to serrations;

stamens 15–20, 2 times petal length.

perianth and androecium perigynous;

epicalyx bractlets absent or present;

hypanthium shallowly bowl-shaped, hemispheric, campanulate, patelliform, +/- crateriform, or turbinate;

torus absent, minute, or thickened;

carpels 3–5(or 6)[–8], distinct, free or adnate to hypanthium base, styles +/- terminal, distinct;

ovules 2–5, apical, collateral or clustered.


aggregated follicles or achenes (Holodiscus);

styles deciduous or persistent, not elongate.


nearly fusiform, 2–3 mm, shiny, glabrous.


= 36.

Spiraea corymbosa

Rosaceae tribe Spiraeeae

Phenology Flowering May–Oct; fruiting Jun–Nov.
Habitat Open rocky soil, rocky, lightly wooded sites, dry or fast draining slopes, rocky edges of woods
Elevation 0–500 m (0–1600 ft)
from FNA
GA; MA; MD; NC; NJ; PA; TN; VA; WV; NS; ON [Introduced in e Europe]
North America; Mexico; Central America; South America; Eurasia [Introduced widely]

H. A. Gleason and A. Cronquist (1963) and L. J. Uttal (1974) considered Spiraea corymbosa to be a variety of S. betulifolia. K. Sax (1936) found S. corymbosa to be a triploid with complete pollen sterility and hypothesized that it must exist as a diploid, or form viable egg cells, because it is involved in hybrids. If so, these cytological differences may be correlated with some morphological variation.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

Genera 8, species ca. 130 (6 genera, 25 species, including 3 hybrids, in the flora).

The two genera not present in North America north of Mexico are the southeastern European-western Asian Sibiraea Maximowicz (five species) and the Mexican Xerospiraea J. Henrickson (one species).

The base chromosome number for Spiraeeae is x = 9.

(Discussion copyrighted by Flora of North America; reprinted with permission.)

1. Herbs, perennial; flowers unisexual; hypanthia shallowly bowl-shaped.
1. Shrubs or subshrubs; flowers bisexual; hypanthia hemispheric, campanulate, patelliform, +/- crateriform, or turbinate
→ 2
2. Subshrubs; leaves 2–3(–5)-ternate, primarily crowded basally.
2. Shrubs; leaves simple, cauline (tightly clustered in Petrophytum)
→ 3
3. Leaves deciduous, herbaceous, membranous, chartaceous, rarely coriaceous; stems erect, arching, or ascending, sometimes spreading to prostrate in Spiraea
→ 4
3. Leaves persistent, often marcescent, coriaceous; stems prostrate (mat-forming), sometimes ascending or erect in Petrophytum
→ 5
4. Fruits aggregated follicles; inflorescences panicles or corymbiform or racemiform; carpels free; petals greenish, yellowish, white, pink, or purple.
4. Fruits aggregated achenes; inflorescences panicles; carpels adnate to hypanthium base; petals usually white, sometimes pink tinged, rarely pink.
5. Inflorescences panicles; petals white; stamens 20–40.
5. Inflorescences: flowers solitary; petals pink to pinkish, often purple tinged; stamens 7–12.
Source FNA vol. 9, p. 403. FNA vol. 9, p. 398.
Parent taxa Rosaceae > subfam. Amygdaloideae > tribe Spiraeeae > Spiraea Rosaceae > subfam. Amygdaloideae
Sibling taxa
S. alba, S. cantoniensis, S. chamaedryfolia, S. douglasii, S. japonica, S. lucida, S. prunifolia, S. salicifolia, S. splendens, S. stevenii, S. thunbergii, S. tomentosa, S. virginiana, S. ×hitchcockii, S. ×pyramidata, S. ×vanhouttei
Subordinate taxa
Aruncus, Holodiscus, Kelseya, Luetkea, Petrophytum, Spiraea
Synonyms S. betulifolia var. corymbosa, S. ostryfolia, S. repens, S. sororia
Name authority Rafinesque: Précis Découv. Somiol., 36. (1814) de Candolle: in A. P de Candolle and A. L. P. P. de Candolle, in A. Pde Candolle and A. L. P. P. de Candolle, Prodr. 2: 541. (1825)
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