Spiraea

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Spiraea
Illustration Spiraea salicifolia0.jpg
Spiraea salicifolia Illustration
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Rosids
Order: Rosales
Family: Rosaceae
Subfamily: Amygdaloideae[1]
Genus: Spiraea
L.
Species

About 80-100, see text

Spiraea /spˈrə/,[2] is a genus of about 80 to 100 species[3] of shrubs in the family Rosaceae. They are native to the temperate Northern Hemisphere, with the greatest diversity in eastern Asia.

The genus formerly included 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.

Description[edit]

Spiraea plants are hardy, deciduous-leaved shrubs. The leaves are simple and usually short stalked, and are arranged in a spiralling, alternate fashion. In most species, the leaves are lanceolate (narrowly oval) and about 1 to 4 inches (2.5 to 10.2 cm) long. The leaf margins are usually toothed, occasionally cut or lobed, and rarely smooth. Stipules are absent.

The many small flowers of Spiraea shrubs are clustered together in inflorescences, usually in dense panicles, umbrella-like corymbs, or grape-like clusters. The radial symmetry of each flower is five-fold, with the flowers usually bisexual, rarely unisexual. The flowers have five sepals and five white, pink, or reddish petals that are usually longer than the sepals. Each flower has many (15 to 60) stamens. The fruit is an aggregate of follicles.[3]

Ecology[edit]

Spiraea species are used as food plants by the larvae of many Lepidoptera species, including the Brown-tail, the Small Emperor Moth, the Grey Dagger, the Setaceous Hebrew character, and the moth Hypercompe indecisa.

Uses[edit]

Horticulture[edit]

Many species of Spiraea are used as ornamental plants in temperate climates, particularly for their showy clusters of dense flowers. Some species bloom in the spring, others in midsummer.

The following species, hybrids and cultivars are among those found in cultivation:

  • S. 'Arguta'
  • S. betulifolia
  • S. canescens
  • S. cantoniensis      
  • S. × cinerea
  • S. douglasii
  • S. japonica
  • S. nipponica
  • S. prunifolia
  • S. × pseudosalicifolia      
  • S. salicifolia
  • S. 'Snow White'
  • S. thunbergii
  • S. trichocarpa
  • S. × vanhouttei
  • S. veitchii[4]

Traditional medicine[edit]

Spiraea contain salicylates. Acetylsalicylic acid was first isolated from Filipendula ulmaria, a species at the time classified in the genus Spiraea. The word "aspirin" was coined by adding a- (for acetylation) to spirin, from the German Spirsäure, a reference to Spiraea.[5][6][7]

Native American groups had various medicinal uses for local Spiraea species. S. betulifolia was used for abdominal pain and made into a tea.[8] The Blackfoot used S. splendens root in an enema and to treat venereal conditions.[9]

Other[edit]

Native Americans found S. douglasii useful for making brooms and hanging seafood to cook.[10]

Species[edit]

Hybrids[edit]

There are also numerous named hybrids, some occurring naturally in the wild, others bred in gardens, including several important ornamental plants:

  • Spiraea × arguta (S. × multiflora × S. thunbergii) – garland spiraea
  • Spiraea × billiardii (S. douglasii × S. salicifolia) – Billiard's spiraea
  • Spiraea × blanda (S. nervosa × S. cantoniensis)
  • Spiraea × brachybotrys (S. canescens × S. douglasii)
  • Spiraea × bumalda (S. japonica × S. albiflora)
  • Spiraea × cinerea (S. hypericifolia × S. cana)
  • Spiraea × conspicua (S. japonica × S. latifolia)
  • Spiraea × fontenaysii (S. canescens × S. salicifolia)
  • Spiraea × foxii (S. japonica × S. betulifolia)
  • Spiraea × gieseleriana (S. cana × S. chamaedryfolia)
  • Spiraea × macrothyrsa (S. douglasii × S. latifolia)
  • Spiraea × multiflora (S. crenata × S. hypericifolia)
  • Spiraea × notha (S. betulifolia × S. latifolia)
  • Spiraea × nudiflora (S. chamaedryfolia × S. bella)
  • Spiraea × pikoviensis (S. crenata × S. media)
  • Spiraea × pyramidata (S. betulifolia × S. douglasii) – pyramid spiraea
  • Spiraea × revirescens (S. amoena × S. japonica)
  • Spiraea × sanssouciana (S. japonica × S. douglasii)
  • Spiraea × schinabeckii (S. chamaedryfolia × S. trilobata)
  • Spiraea × semperflorens (S. japonica × S. salicifolia)
  • Spiraea × vanhouttei (S. trilobata × S. cantoniensis) – Van Houtte's spiraea
  • Spiraea × watsoniana (S. douglasii × S. densiflora)

References[edit]

  1. ^ Potter, D., et al. (2007). Phylogeny and classification of Rosaceae. Plant Systematics and Evolution 266, 5-43. [Referring to the subfamily by the name "Spiraeoideae"]
  2. ^ Sunset Western Garden Book. 1995. 606–07.
  3. ^ a b Spiraea. Flora of China.
  4. ^ RHS A-Z Encyclopedia of Garden Plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964. 
  5. ^ Scott, D. L. and G. H. Kingsley. Symptomatic Drug Treatment. Chapter 3 In: Inflammatory Arthritis in Clinical Practice (pp. 48-64). Springer London. 2007.
  6. ^ Harper, D. aspirin. Online Etymology Dictionary. 2013.
  7. ^ Weiss, H. J. (1974). Aspirin – A dangerous drug? JAMA 229(9), 1221-22.
  8. ^ Spiraea betulifolia. Native American Ethnobotany. University of Michigan, Dearborn.
  9. ^ Spiraea splendens. Native American Ethnobotany. University of Michigan, Dearborn.
  10. ^ Spiraea douglasii. Native American Ethnobotany. University of Michigan, Dearborn.

External links[edit]