Steeplebush (Spiraea tomentosa)

Steeplebush (Spiraea tomentosa) 

Steeplebush (Spiraea tomentosa) is a member of the Rose Family (Rosaceae) and orderRosales. The order and family name comes from the Latin for "rose". The genus name, Spiraea, is Latin for "coil."  The species name derives from the Latin for "pillow stuffing." It is a shrub that can grow to four feet (120 centimeters). The very small, pink to purple flowers, less than ¼ inch (6 millimeters) in diameter, are on branches at the top of a stem in a steeple-like arrangement, whence the common name. Like other roses, each flower has five petals and five sepals with numerous tiny stamens and pistils in the center of each flower. This plant flowers from July to September.


The leaves are simple, ovate, toothed and up to two inches (5 centimeters) long. The leaves are hairy underneath.

The fruit is a dry, cell-like structure opening along one side (called a follicle) containing many reddish-brown seeds.

The root system is a rhizome.

This plant filters water and helps stabilize the soil. A cultivated variety of Steeplebush is sold by nurseries as a garden plant.

Steeplebush may be confused with Meadowsweet (Spiraea latifolia), another member of the Rose Family. However, Meadowsweet has white to pale pink flowers and longer, narrower leaves.


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