Filipendula ulmaria (Queen-of-the-meadow)
|Also known as:||Meadowsweet|
|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):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.
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:
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.
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 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.
Please visit our sponsors
Native Plant Nurseries, Restoration and Landscaping Services ↓
- Queen-of-the-meadow plant
- Queen-of-the-meadow plants
- Queen-of-the-meadow spreading in a wet ditch
- Queen-of-the-meadow with Garden Valerian
- spreading vegetatively
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?
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".
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.
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.
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
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.