Family: Rosaceae (Rose family)
Height: up to 1.2 m (up to 4 ft)
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.
Ideal condition: found in wet meadows of Northwest Indiana.
SOURCES & FURTHER RESOURCES:
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".