Spiraea alba (White Meadowsweet)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Rosaceae (Rose)
Life cycle:perennial woody
Habitat:sun; wet meadows, bogs, along shores
Bloom season:June - September
Plant height:2 to 6 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: panicle Cluster type: spike

[photo of flowers] Flowers are in densely packed branching clusters to 6 inches long at the top of the plant, blooming from the top down. Individual flowers are about ¼ inch across with 5 white petals and numerous long stamens surrounding a center ring that is pink, yellow or orange. The long stamens give it a somewhat fuzzy look.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are narrow, typically oval-elliptic, sometimes widest on the tip end, to 3 inches long and ¾ inch wide, sharply toothed, hairless, with a pointed tip and a short stalk. Both leaf surfaces are about the same color green or the underside a bit lighter. Attachment is alternate, and they tend to be densely packed along the stem. The stem is smooth, woody and dull brown or reddish. One plant typically has multiple stems, looking like a cluster of plants.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of winter fruit] Fruit is a cluster of 4 to 6 tiny pods (follicles), each containing a single seed. When ripe, the pods split open at the top and the seeds fall to the ground over the winter months.


White Meadowsweet is considered a shrub rather than a wildflower (forb). It tends to grow in colonies. It resembles Steeplebush, which may be growing along side it but has distinctly pink flowers and its leaves are silvery white on the underside. Meadowsweet is pretty easy to identify when in bloom.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Blaine and at Helen Allison SNA, Anoka County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Kenny h - East of rose creek on shooting star trail
on: 2017-07-06 13:31:13

Nice sized colony growing along shooting star trail...1 mile East of creek...today is July 6, and almost half of the flowering heads are beginning to turn Brown already.

Posted by: Corinne - Grand Rapids
on: 2019-08-06 16:38:00

Many colonies growing along side road off of Hwy 2. Very helpful website.

Posted by: Brian Wolff - St. Croix State Park
on: 2019-08-07 14:56:30

On August 3rd, white meadowsweet can be found growing abundantly in the field across the street from the St. Croix State Park entrance building.

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