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dwarf spiraea, shinyleaf meadowsweet

hardhack, rosy meadowsweet, spirée tomenteuse, steeplebush

Habit Shrubs, 3–10(–15) dm. Shrubs, 3–15 dm.

erect to arching, branched.

erect to ascending, rarely 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.

petiole 2–3 mm;

blade bicolorous, ovate-lanceolate, 3–6 × 1–2.5 cm, coriaceous, base cuneate, margins coarsely serrate to crenate on distal 3/4, (secondary teeth on large and long shoot leaves), venation pinnate craspedodromous, secondary veins prominent, apex acute or rounded, abaxial surface densely white to gray, tan, or rusty, tomentose, adaxial glabrous or puberulent.


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

branches rarely in axils of leaves, glabrous or glabrate.

predominantly terminal, narrow, conic panicles, 150–15,000+-flowered, 5–30 × 3–20 cm, branching varying from compact to wide and spreading;

branches tomentose.


1–3 mm, glabrous or glabrate.

0.1–1.5 mm, tomentose.


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.

4–6 mm diam.;

hypanthia hemispheric, 0.5–1 mm, abaxial surface tomentose, adaxial glabrous;

sepals triangular, 0.7–1.1 mm;

petals usually light to dark pink, sometimes white or purple, ovate to orbiculate, 1–1.5 mm;

staminodes 0;

stamens 15–20, 1 times petal length.


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

cymbiform, 2–2.5 mm, tomentose to arachnoid.


= 36.

= 24, 36.

Spiraea corymbosa

Spiraea tomentosa

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]
from FNA
AL; AR; CT; DE; GA; IL; IN; KS; KY; LA; MA; MD; ME; MI; MN; MO; MS; NC; NH; NJ; NY; OH; OR; PA; RI; SC; TN; VA; VT; WI; WV; NB; NS; ON; PE; QC [Introduced in Europe]
[WildflowerSearch map]
[BONAP county map]

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.)

Varieties 2 (2 in the flora).

P. J. Salamun (1951) conducted a comprehensive study of variation of the inflorescence across much of the range of Spiraea tomentosa and concluded that the two varieties could be segregated based upon the number of flowers or fruits per centimeter (density) of a lateral branch of the inflorescence. Intermediate populations have been identified, particularly in western New York and Pennsylvania. A. Gille (1949) discussed the overall distribution of S. tomentosa without evaluating varieties, and conducted a detailed study of its ecology in Quebec. The occurrences of this species in Oregon are as a weed in cranberry bogs; it has the potential to spread to natural wetlands. The species is reported as invasive in Belgium and Poland.

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

1. Pedicels usually not visible, 0.1–0.5 mm; flowers or fruits 12–20 per cm of branches.
S. tomentosa var. tomentosa
1. Pedicels easily visible, 0.5–1.5 mm; flowers or fruits 6–11 per cm of branches.
S. tomentosa var. rosea
Source FNA vol. 9, p. 403. FNA vol. 9, p. 403.
Parent taxa Rosaceae > subfam. Amygdaloideae > tribe Spiraeeae > Spiraea Rosaceae > subfam. Amygdaloideae > tribe Spiraeeae > Spiraea
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
S. alba, S. cantoniensis, S. chamaedryfolia, S. corymbosa, S. douglasii, S. japonica, S. lucida, S. prunifolia, S. salicifolia, S. splendens, S. stevenii, S. thunbergii, S. virginiana, S. ×hitchcockii, S. ×pyramidata, S. ×vanhouttei
Subordinate taxa
S. tomentosa var. rosea, S. tomentosa var. tomentosa
Synonyms S. betulifolia var. corymbosa, S. ostryfolia, S. repens, S. sororia
Name authority Rafinesque: Précis Découv. Somiol., 36. (1814) Linnaeus: Sp. Pl. 1: 489. (1753)
Web links 
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