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NPIN: Native Plant Database

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Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush)
Vick, Albert F. W.

Spiraea tomentosa

Spiraea tomentosa L.

Steeplebush

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Synonym(s): Spiraea tomentosa var. rosea, Spiraea tomentosa var. tomentosa

USDA Symbol: spto2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

This mound-shaped, deciduous shrub forms a thicket of erect, slender, wand-like, unbranched stems, 3-6 ft. tall. Dense, erect, plumes of pink to rose-purple flowers occur terminally. The orange to reddish-brown bark is exfoliating and the fall foliage is yellow. An erect shrub with dense, steeple-shaped, branched clusters of pink flowers.

A similar species, the pink-flowered Japanese Spiraea (S. japonica) from Asia, differs from Steeplebush in having flat-topped clusters of flowers and smooth leaves; since its introduction into North America, it has invaded a broad area, from Ontario and Michigan east to Maine and south to Georgia, Tennessee, and Illinois.

 

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf: Green
Autumn Foliage: yes
Fruit: Brown
Size Class: 6-12 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Red , Pink , Purple
Bloom Time: Jul , Aug , Sep

Distribution

USA: AR , CT , DE , GA , IL , IN , KS , KY , LA , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NH , NJ , NY , OH , OR , PA , RI , SC , TN , VA , VT , WA , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS , ON , PE , QC
Native Distribution: N.S. & N.B. to Que. & e.c. MN, s. to NC, MS & AR
Native Habitat: Wet prairies & meadows; marshes; roadsides

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
CaCO3 Tolerance: Medium
Soil Description: Wet, moderately acid, soils.
Conditions Comments: Steeplebush needs sun; it will dwindle in shade.

Benefit

Use Wildlife: Intermediate.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Birds , Butterflies
Larval Host: Columbia silkmoth

Value to Beneficial Insects

Special Value to Native Bees

This information was provided by the Pollinator Program at The Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation.

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Spiraea tomentosa is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Columbia silkmoth
(Hyalophora columbia)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Propagation

Description: Propagate by seed or softwood cuttings. Cuttings do not need a hormone treatment.
Seed Collection: Not Available
Seed Treatment: Seeds require no special treatment.
Commercially Avail: yes

Mr. Smarty Plants says

Native shrub to replace non-native azaleas.
February 10, 2009
I want to replace my two dozen azaleas this spring (I think they're unattractive once the flowers fall off). I like the multiseason characteristics of weigela (midnight wine, W&R), but want to go na...
view the full question and answer

National Wetland Indicator Status

Region:AGCPAKAWCBEMPGPHIMWNCNEWMVE
Status: FACW FACW FACW FACW FACW FACW
This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Suppliers Directory

According to the inventory provided by Associate Suppliers, this plant is available at the following locations:

American Native Nursery - Quakertown, PA
Prairie Nursery - Westfield, WI

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE
* Available Online from Wildflower Center Store

Bibliography

Bibref 1186 - Field Guide to Moths of Eastern North America (2005) Covell, C.V., Jr.
Bibref 1185 - Field Guide to Western Butterflies (Peterson Field Guides) (1999) Opler, P.A. and A.B. Wright
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
* The Midwestern Native Garden: Native Alternatives to Nonnative Flowers and Plants An Illustrated Guide (2011) Adelman, Charlotte and Schwartz, Bernard L.

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Spiraea tomentosa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Spiraea tomentosa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Spiraea tomentosa

Metadata

Record Modified: 2012-12-09
Research By: TWC Staff

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