Filipendula ulmaria (Queen-of-the-meadow)

Plant Info
Also known as: Meadowsweet
Family:Rosaceae (Rose)
Life cycle:perennial
Origin:Europe, Asia
  • Weedy
Habitat:sun; moist soil; wet ditches, wetlands, banks, shores, floodplains, moist meadows
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:3 to 6 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FAC MW: FACW NCNE: FAC
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: panicle

[photo of flowers] Showy, branching clusters of short-stalked flowers at the tip of the stem and arising from leaf axils in the upper plant. Flowers are ¼ to 1/3 inch across, white, usually 5-petaled. In the center is a spray of numerous long, white stamens with pale yellow tips surrounding 5 to 15 pale styles. Flowers bloom from the bottom of the cluster up and are quite fragrant. The calyx cupping the flower is 5-lobed and hairless. Flower stalks are hairless.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf attachment: basal Leaf type: compound

[photo of lower leaf] Leaves are mostly alternate, compound with 5 to 9 leaflets; the 1 or 2 basal leaves typically wither by flowering time. The terminal leaflet is largest, 2 to 5 inches wide, deeply lobed with 3 to 5 segments, the lateral leaflets typically unlobed, lance to egg-shaped with pointed tips, ¾ to 3 inches long. Leaflet edges are sharply double-toothed, the upper surface is mostly smooth, the lower surface pale and densely short-hairy. A few to several small leaflets are typically along the stalk between the lateral leaflets.

[photo of stem leaves] At the base of the stalk is a pair of leafy appendages (stipules) about ½ inch long. Stems are ridged, erect and mostly hairless, though may be sparsely hairy in the flower clusters.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

[photo of developing fruit] Fruit is a slender, hairless, somewhat flattened, twisted seed up to ¼ inch long, the remains of the style persisting for some time at the tip. Seeds ripen from green to brown.


Queen-of-the-meadow is a European introduction and garden escapee that can spread along roadside ditches, moist meadows, and through wetlands, preferring locations with fluctuating water levels. It is considered potentially invasive in Wisconsin, where it is known to spread vegetatively as well as self-seed; the seed is able to float for weeks and can germinate wherever it lands. Queen-of-the-meadow is only known to be in St. Louis County at this time, but is making its way up the north shore of Lake Superior and is one to watch. It is similar to the related Queen-of-the-prairie (Filipendula rubra), a species native to our south and east, which is available in the native plant trade but considered an introduction to both Minnesota and Wisconsin. Queen-of-the-prairie has bright pink flowers, the lateral leaflets are typically lobed, and the fruit is not twisted.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in St. Louis County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Arthur G. - North Shore
on: 2016-10-01 12:23:26

Seen at pull-offs on the North Shore. I believe the fruit is actually a capsule rather than a "seed".

Posted by: Kelly Boedigheimer - North Shore Scenic Drive near Brighton Beach
on: 2020-07-20 11:21:42

This is the first time I've seen such a large amount of this plant along the Scenic Highway just outside of Duluth. It's quite thick along the 7100 block of Scenic 61.

Posted by: juliann grahn - Short Rd/Johnson Rd SE of Cook, MN
on: 2021-07-31 14:09:52

There is a small area of it growing on the south side of the road in a wet ditch.

Posted by: John Johnson
on: 2022-06-10 17:40:15

Filipendula rubra Queen of the prairie. How come you referenced it but it's not in the plant list?just curious. Thanks

Posted by: K Chayka
on: 2022-06-10 18:54:24

John, while queen of the prairie is available in the garden trade, it isn't native to Minnesota and not found in the wild, unless it was included in a restoration mix. But that's rare.

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