steeplebush flowers

Family:     Rosaceae (Rose family)

Duration:  Perennial

Height:     up to 1.2 m (up to 4 ft)

Blooming: July-August

 

Steeple Bush

Spiraea tomentosa L.

Stem: erect, usually not branched.  It starts fuzzy with brown hairs covering becoming hairless and woody.

Flowers: are lusciously creamy pink to purplish-pink, sometimes with a rare white form.  Each inflorescence can have about 150 - 15,000 flowers.  The stamens (boy-parts) are longer than the five petals.

Leaves: the leaves are alternately arranged with a rusty, white to tan woolly underside of the leaf.  They are 3-7 cm (1.2-2.75 in) long with a pointed tip.  The leaves are deeply veined (as seen in the picture).  The top of the leaf is sometimes hairy but darker than the underside.  They are toothed.

Fruit: wooly capsules.

Sun: Full 

Ideal condition: found in wet meadows of Northwest Indiana.  

Spiraea tomentosa stem
spireae tomentosa

all photos by Nathanael Pilla

Landscape: a strong standing, gorgeous addition to a native landscape.  Attracts butterflies and birds!

Comments: Steeplebush is a treat to find when walking through prairies of Northwest Indiana.  It is similar to its cousin, meadowsweet (Spiraea alba), but meadowsweet's leaves and fruits are usually hairless.

Etymology: Vplants states that "Spiraea comes from the Greek word speiraira, a plant used to make garlands. Tomentosa means densely wooly".