Spiraea • Spiraea

Spiraea  •  Spirea •  シモツケ • 下野  • shimotsuke

Took a pic of this dainty-flower, white blooming bush in area C somewhere on the end of May, but not sure of its identity I emailed for help the other members of the Plant Committee. The verdict came that it is very likely a plant listed in our Plant List as spirea – one should be in area C, and the two other in neighboring area D. 

Surely enough a few days later I DID find all three bushes, grouped together, but divided by an artificial demarcation line we use for our ID purposes (it didn’t help that different people oversee areas C and D).  After that i learned that spirea species has about 80+ varieties, which intimidated me enough not to write this post until now…


SJG • 5/29/13 – Spiraea • Spiraea bush, Area C


SJG • 5/29/13 – Spiraea • Spiraea bush, Area C – FLOWERS


SJG • 5/31/13, two days later: the other 2 spirea buses, right after the border from C to D area


SJG • 5/31/13, two days later: the other 2 spirea buses; another FLOWER update

From wikipedia:  Spiraea /spaɪˈriːə/, is a genus of about 80-100 species of shrubs in the family Rosaceae. They are native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere, with the greatest diversity in eastern Asia. […]  The genus was formerly treated as also containing the herbaceous species now segregated into the genera Filipendula and Aruncus; recent genetic evidence has shown that Filipendula is only distantly related to Spiraea, belonging in the subfamily Rosoideae. […]

From Clemson Cooperative Extension,  SC:   […]  Spireas (Spiraea species) are among the easiest flowering shrubs to grow. There are two distinct kinds of spireas: the bridal wreath type, with clusters of white flowers on arching branches in spring; and the shrubby, much lower-growing type, which has pink, red or white flowers clustered at the end of upright branches in summer to fall.

Mature Height/Spread:   Baby’s breath spirea, also called thunberg spirea or garland spirea (S. thunbergii) is a showy, graceful shrub, 3 to 5 feet high, with many slender, arching branches. The small, narrow, toothed leaves turn orange in late fall. The tiny white flowers are clustered in the axils along the stems. More than any other spirea, it has a feathery appearance. […]

___ notes to self:

– organize and re-write r. daviesii post 
– create ‘pictured but unidentified yet’ page
– start working on recreating Kathleen Smith’s rhodie poster (clean up 2013 pics)


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5 Responses to Spiraea • Spiraea

  1. wobbly-sabi says:

    Wondering about the name Shimotsuke: aren’t the small flowers of that Japanese Spirea pink? If so, might that make the variety of the one pictured Shirobana-Shimotsuke? Thank you for your fine work on the bloom blog.

  2. sjgbloom2012 says:

    thank you wobbly-sabi for your comment; i believe shimotsuke is a general genus name, maybe Hiroko will see this post and chimes in – she worked on japanese genus name-list.

    this particular specimen pictured above is pure white; does shirobana mean ‘pink’ in japanese? i saw some specimens very similar to this one on the web, but not being trained in the field i hesitated with guessing its name…

    Along the E path, in area M and past the E gate, we have ‘spirea japonica alpina’, which is indeed pink – it’s a ground-cover type of a plant (not bush like the one above), usually blooming in late june (it has its own entry on this blog).

    • wobbly-sabi says:

      Actually, in my comment I was wondering if the Japanese Spirea, which is pictured above, is more specifically Shirobana-Shimotsuke because it is white, and not pink. My understanding has been that Japanese Spirea Shimotsuke is pink, and Japanese Spirea Shirobana-Shimotsuke is white. (I think shiro means white.)

    • wobbly-sabi says:

      P.S. (of sorts): sjgbloom2012 reply mentioned Spirea japonica ‘Alpina’, which is also pictured on the blog. I did see those fotos. Because of its pink flowers and form, I would’ve guessed it to be what I think of as just Shimotsuke.

      Side note: Don’t know if there’s a connection (as the characters probably differ), however, prior to the Meiji restoration, Shimotsuke was the name of a province in Japan, which is now Tochigi Prefecture. Currently, it’s the name of a city in that Prefecture.

  3. sjgbloom2012 says:

    my next quest in life will be learning the japanese language to help me out of my confusion:). but super-interesting that shimotsuke was the name of province in japan, and currently a name of a city in that prefecture. you certainly add interesting points to this, wobbly-sabi!:) thank you!

    i can’t claim any knowledge on the spiraeas here, except that according to our plant list book the pink one in M is billed as ‘s. japonica alpine’, but the white one above as just ‘spiraea’, without further annotations.

    but you are right, most of the spiraeas seem to be of japanese origin, or at least of eastern asia, so it is very likely that whoever planted the ones above, chose them for their japanese origins. i found it amazingly true for many rhododendrons that we have in SJG – the planning of the garden seems to have been much more cerebral than i ever suspected (before my stumbling onto the plant committee group and creating this blog).

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