Shinyleaf Spiraea The Rose Family–Rosaceae
Spiraea lucida Douglas ex Greene
Names: The word Spiraea comes from a Greek plant that was commonly used for garlands. Spiraeas are collectively known as Meadowsweets. Shinyleaf Spiraea was formerly considered a variety of Birchleaf Spiraea, Spiraea betulifolia, It is sometimes called White Spiraea or White Meadowsweet. Lucida means shining.
Relationships: There are about 80-100 species of spiraea in the temperate regions of the northern hemisphere-the majority in eastern Asia. Many are grown for ornamental landscaping and there are several cultivated varieties, mostly of the Japanese species.
Distribution: It is found from British Columbia to Oregon from the foothills of the Cascades, through the Rocky Mountains, eastward to Saskatchewan and Minnesota.
Growth: Shinyleaf Spiraea grows only to about 1-3 ft. (30-90 cm). It spreads by rhizomes and often grows in large colonies.
Habitat: It grows in open forests and on dry, rocky slopes; from foothills to wetter forests at higher mountain elevations. Wetland designation: Tentative FAC*, It is equally likely to occur in wetlands or non-wetlands.
Diagnostic Characters: Its leaves are egg-shaped, doubly-toothed past the middle; bright green above, paler below. White flowers are borne in flat-topped clusters.
In the Landscape: Like many spiraeas, this shrub is charming in a landscape and is especially useful when a smaller shrub is desired. It has great potential for mixing with Subalpine Spiraea in borders or foundation plantings.
Phenology: Flowers:: May- July. Seasonal development of Shiny Spirea varies due to
temperature differences between elevational sites.
Propagation: A 60 day cold, moist stratification. of seeds is recommended but germination may occur without a stratification treatment. Cuttings also may be taken in early to mid June.
Use by People: A tea, made from branches, leaves or roots, was mostly used to treat abdominal and menstrual pains by natives.
Use by Wildlife: Shiny spiraea is considered a poor forage species and also does not provide good cover. But is possibly a good species for pollinators such as butterflies.
Pyramidal Spiraea, Spiraea x pyramidata, is a naturally occurring hybrid of S. betulifolia (lucida) and S. douglasii. It is intermediate to both of its parents, growing 4-5 feet (130-160cm) with flowers in pyramidal clusters, white to pale pink.
Consortium of Pacific Northwest Herbaria
WTU Herbarium Image Collection, Plants of Washington, Burke Museum
E-Flora BC, Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia
Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center
USDA Forest Service-Fire Effects Information System
Native Plants Network, Propagation Protocol Database
Native American Ethnobotany, University of Michigan, Dearborn