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Spiraea tomentosa

Spiraea tomentosa L.

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

Spiraea tomentosa L. var. tomentosa

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. See also meadowsweet, a white or sometime pinkish relative.

Identification: Plants are 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. Steeplebush prefers wet or seasonally wet areas and lots of sunlight. Leaves are 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. The flowerheads are the defining features, 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 are pods that contain narrow seeds about ¹/₃₂" (1 mm) long.

Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush, Hardhack)

By Steve Hurst @ USDA-NRCS PLANTS Database.

Online References:

Spiraea tomentosa at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Spiraea tomentosa at Illinois Wildflowers

Spiraea tomentosa at the University of Wisconsin's Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium

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)

3/25/2012 · Acadia National Park, Bar Harbor, ME

Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush, Hardhack)

8/15/2015 · Screw Auger Falls, Grafton Notch State Park, Newry, ME
≈ 7 × 10" (16 × 25 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush, Hardhack)

8/2/2012 · Nashua River Rail Trail, near Nashoba Hospital, Ayer, MA
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 19 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush, Hardhack)

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

Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush, Hardhack)

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

Spiraea tomentosa description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 14 May 2016.

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Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush, Hardhack)

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

Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush, Hardhack)

12/30/2011 · Willard Brook State Park, Ashby, MA
≈ 4 × 6" (10 × 15 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush, Hardhack)

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

Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush, Hardhack)

7/31/2012 · Bemis Rd Conservation Area, Pepperell, MA
≈ 5 × 8" (13 × 19 cm) ID is uncertain

Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush, Hardhack)

7/24/2010 · Acton Arboretum, Acton, MA
≈ 9 × 12" (23 × 29 cm)

Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush, Hardhack)

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

Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush, Hardhack)

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

Spiraea tomentosa (Steeplebush, Hardhack)

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

Range: Zones 4-8:

About this map...