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Spiraea tomentosa L.

Steeplebush, hardhack

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassRosidaeRoses, legumes, proteas, dogwoods, hydrangeas, mistletoes, euphorbias, grapes, many more
OrderRosalesRose family and eight others
FamilyRosaceaeIncludes apples, apricots, plums, cherries, peaches, pears, raspberries, strawberries, almonds, roses, meadowsweets, photinias, firethorns, rowans, and hawthorns; many others
GenusSpiraeaFrom Greek speiraira, “a plant used for wreaths or garlands,” in turn from speira, “spiral or twisted”
SpeciestomentosaDensely covered with matted wool or short hair

About plant names...

Steeplebush is native to eastern North America and northern and central Europe. It is named for its steeple-like flower clusters. Steeplebush prefers wet or seasonally wet areas and lots of sunlight. See also meadowsweet, a white or sometime pinkish relative.

Plants: 24-48" (60-121 cm) tall, composed of groups of unbranched stems topped by conical flowerheads. Stems are orange-colored at first, from dense brown hairs, becoming reddish-brown and woody later.

Leaves: Alternate, dark green, hairless, and textured on top; pale and hairy below. They are 1½-3" (3.8-7.6 cm) × ½-1¼" (1.3-3.2 cm), roughly oval shaped (elliptic to ovate), coarsely toothed, connected by short stems.

Flowers: Dense, cone-shaped panicles of pink flowers 2-6" (5-15 cm) long, each less than ¼" (6.3 mm) around, with five petals. Flowers appear from July to September.

Fruits: Pods that contain narrow seeds about ¹/₃₂" (1 mm) long.

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

By Steve Hurst @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

These are similar:

 

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

8/30/2021 · Woodward Point Preserve, Brunswick, Maine
≈ 6 × 4" (16 × 10 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

7/20/2021 · Otter Brook, Harpswell, Maine
≈ 7 × 8" (16 × 20 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

8/11/2020 · Cliff Trail, Harpswell, Maine
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 20 cm)

 
Spiraea alba
You are here
Spiraea tomentosa
Common Name

meadowsweet

steeplebush
Plant Shrub is 24-72" (60-182 cm) around, with multiple stems that are rarely branched. Stems are brown or yellowish brown. 24-48" (60-121 cm) tall, composed of groups of unbranched stems topped by conical flowerheads. Stems are orange-colored at first, from dense brown hairs, becoming reddish-brown and woody later.
Flowers Large, densely flowered panicles are 2-6" (5-15 cm) long, composed of individual flowers less than ¼" (6.3 mm) around. Each flower is white or pale pink, with five petals and a large number of stamens. They flower from June to September. Dense, cone-shaped panicles of pink flowers 2-6" (5-15 cm) long, each less than ¼" (6.3 mm) around, with five petals. Flowers appear from July to September.
Leaves Alternate, green and textured above, paler in color beneath, narrowly ovate, and sharply toothed. They have pinnate veins and short stems, and are 1¾-2½" (5-7 cm) × ⅜-¾" (1-2 cm). Alternate, dark green, hairless, and textured on top; pale and hairy below. They are 1½-3" (3.8-7.6 cm) × ½-1¼" (1.3-3.2 cm), roughly oval shaped (elliptic to ovate), coarsely toothed, connected by short stems.
Fruit Dry brown follicles opening at the tip when ripened, and persisting long after flowering. Pods that contain narrow seeds about ¹/₃₂" (1 mm) long.
Range/ Zones

USDA Zones: 3-7

USDA Zones: 4-8
Habitats Damp meadows, pastures, old fields, in sandy, loamy soil Damp meadows, pastures, old fields, in sandy, loamy soil
Type Wild Wild

 

Online References:

Spiraea tomentosa at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Spiraea tomentosa at Illinois Wildflowers

Spiraea tomentosa on

Spiraea tomentosa on Plants for a Future, a resource and information centre for edible and otherwise useful plants

Spiraea tomentosa at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Cofrin Center for Biodiversity

Spiraea tomentosa at Minnesota Wildflowers

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

8/8/2015 · Mt. Wachusett
≈ 6 × 4½" (14 × 12 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

9/10/2021 · Crystal Spring Farm, Blueberry Loop, Brunswick, Maine
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

8/15/2015 · Screw Auger Falls, Grafton Notch State Park, Newry, Maine
≈ 7 × 9" (16 × 23 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

8/2/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 5 × 7" (13 × 17 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

7/26/2020 · Back River Trail, Eaton Farm Preserve, Wiscasset, Maine
≈ 5 × 7" (13 × 18 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

8/2/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 8 × 12" (20 × 31 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

8/30/2021 · Woodward Point Preserve, Brunswick, Maine
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

8/4/2009 · Near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 16 × 14" (41 × 36 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

8/4/2009 · Near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 4 × 6" (11 × 16 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa L. var. rosea (Raf.) Fernald

Spiraea tomentosa L. var. tomentosa

 

Spiraea tomentosa description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 13 Sep 2021.

© FloraFinder.org. All rights reserved.


 

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

12/30/2011 · Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 14 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

7/31/2012 · Bemis Rd Conservation Area, Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 6 × 9" (14 × 22 cm) ID is uncertain

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

7/31/2012 · Bemis Rd Conservation Area, Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 5 × 7" (13 × 17 cm) ID is uncertain

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

7/24/2010 · Acton Arboretum, Acton, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 8 × 11" (20 × 27 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

8/3/2012 · Bemis Rd Conservation Area, Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 4½ × 7" (11 × 17 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

Seeds will darken to red-brown. · 8/25/2017 · Pack Monadnock, near summit, Peterborough, New Hamp­shire
≈ 5 × 3½" (13 × 9.2 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

4/6/2021 · Otter Brook Trail, Harpswell Heritage Land Trust, Harpswell, Maine
≈ 3 × 5" (7.9 × 13 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

4/14/2013 · Bemis Rd, Pepperell, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 6 × 4" (15 × 10 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (steeplebush, hardhack)

8/12/2009 · Pearl Hill State Park, Townsend, Mass­a­chu­setts
≈ 6 × 8" (14 × 19 cm) ID is uncertain

Range: Zones 4-8:

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