Spiraea alba (White Meadowsweet)
|Also known as:|
|Life cycle:||perennial woody|
|Habitat:||sun; wet meadows, bogs, along shores|
|Bloom season:||June - September|
|Plant height:||2 to 6 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Flowers are in densely packed branching clusters to 6 inches long at the top of the plant, blooming from the top down. Individual flowers are about ¼ inch across with 5 white petals and numerous long stamens surrounding a center ring that is pink, yellow or orange. The long stamens give it a somewhat fuzzy look.
Leaves and stem:
Leaves are narrow, typically oval-elliptic, sometimes widest on the tip end, to 3 inches long and ¾ inch wide, sharply toothed, hairless, with a pointed tip and a short stalk. Both leaf surfaces are about the same color green or the underside a bit lighter. Attachment is alternate, and they tend to be densely packed along the stem. The stem is smooth, woody and dull brown or reddish. One plant typically has multiple stems, looking like a cluster of plants.
White Meadowsweet is considered a shrub rather than a wildflower (forb). It tends to grow in colonies. It resembles Steeplebush, which may be growing along side it but has distinctly pink flowers and its leaves are silvery white on the underside. Meadowsweet is pretty easy to identify when in bloom.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Blaine and at Helen Allison SNA, Anoka County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?