broadleaf meadowsweet

(Spiraea alba var. latifolia)

               
Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed

 

No image available

NatureServe

N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked

Minnesota

not listed

Wetland
Indicator
Status

Midwest

FACW - Facultative wetland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACW - Facultative wetland

Nativity

Native

Occurrence

 

Habitat

Moist to wet. Meadows, bogs, swamps, thickets, streambanks, shorelines. Full sun to part shade.

Flowering

June to August

     
Flower Color

White, rarely pinkish

     
Height

3 to 6

     
 
Identification

This is an erect, perennial, usually unbranched shrub with a woody root. It may form tall, dense thickets.

The bark is gray or reddish-brown and smooth. When it ages the bark becomes papery and peels off in fine strips.

Young twigs are green, leafy, and covered with minute, fine, soft hairs. Later they become hairless and develop purplish-brown or reddish-brown bark. They do not have thorns.

Buds are long-pointed and silky. Leaf scars are raised and have just 1 bundle scar.

The leaves are alternate, hairless, crowded, and deciduous. They are broadly oblong to broadly inverse–lance-shaped, with the attachment at the narrow end. They are unlobed, 2 to 3 times as long as wide, 2 to 3 long, and to 13 16 wide. The margins have coarse, blunt teeth. The upper surface is medium green and hairless. The lower surface pale green is hairless. They are attached to the twig in short, 1 16 to long leaf stalks.

The inflorescence is an erect, branched, cluster of many small flowers at the end of the stem or a branch. It is pyramid-shaped, longer than wide, 2 to 6 long. The flower stems and flower cups are hairless or nearly hairless.

The flowers are ¼ wide and slightly fuzzy. They have 5 white, rarely pinkish, petals, 5 light green sepals, and 20 or more long stamens. The sepals are acute and spreading, but do not bend backward when the flowers are fully open. The petals are much longer than the sepals.

The fruit is a group of 5 dry, brown, hairless pods with short beaks. They contain 2 to 5 seeds.

 
Similar
Species

Narrow-leaved meadowsweet (Spiraea alba var. alba) twigs are dull brown or yellowish-brown. Twig color, however, is an unreliable indicator because the color is variable. Leaves are narrower, 3 to 4 times as long as wide. Leaf margins have finer, sharper teeth. The inflorescence is evidently hairy. The sepals are obtuse. It is found in moist to wet locations.

Steeplebush (Spiraea tomentosa) is a much shorter plant, usually less than 3 tall. The leaves have a dense, reddish-brown fuzz on the underside. The sepals are not spreading but bend backward when the flowers are fully open. The flower petals are pink or rose-purple. The fruit is hairy.

 
Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 2, 4.
 
Comments

Possible Presence
According to the Minnesota State Botanist Welby Smith, plants with at least one characteristic intermediate between S. a. alba and S. a. latifolia “are not difficult to find.” However, no convincing specimens of the latter have been found in Minnesota.8

 
Taxonomy

Family:

Rosaceae (rose)

 

Subfamily:

Spiraeoideae

 

Tribe:

Spiraeeae

 
Parent

white meadowsweet (Spiraea alba)

 
Synonyms

Spiraea latifolia

 
Common
Names

broadleaf meadowsweet

narrowleaf spire

narrow-leaved meadowsweet

narrow-leaved meadow-sweet

northern meadow-sweet

white meadowsweet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Acute

Referring to leaf shapes that taper to a pointed tip with more or less straight sides, the angle at the tip less than 90°.

 

Beak

A comparatively short and stout, narrow or prolonged tip on a thickened organ, as on some fruits and seeds.

 

Obtuse

Referring to leaf shapes that taper to a broad tip with more or less straight sides, the angle at the tip more than 90°.

       
Visitor Photos
   
Share your photo of this plant.
 

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.

       
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
   
       
       
       

 

Camera

     
Slideshows
   
  Broadleaf Meadowsweet (Spiraea latifolia)
Andree Reno Sanborn
 
  Broadleaf Meadowsweet (Spiraea latifolia)  
     
  Broadleaf Meadowsweet (Spiraea latifolia)
Bill Keim
 
  Broadleaf Meadowsweet (Spiraea latifolia)  

 

slideshow

       
Visitor Videos
       
Share your video of this plant.
   

This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Attach one or more videos or YouTube links and, if you like, a caption.

       
       
Other Videos
 
       
       
       
       

 

Camcorder

         
Visitor Sightings
   
Report a sighting of this plant.
 
This button not working for you?
Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.

     
     
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
   

 

 

 

Binoculars


Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © 2019 MinnesotaSeasons.com. All rights reserved.