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Native Shrub ID

Boomer N
last year
last modified: last year

I live about 100 miles south of KC, Missouri. I am looking for help identifying this shrub that I believe is native. It's about 4 ft tall and 6ft wide. It is in bloom currently along with a bunch of wild plums so it's an early plant. It has a bunch of small almost rose like white flowers, but no thorns, so not sure if it's in rose family. Any help is greatly appreciated.

Comments (26)

  • Boomer N
    Original Author
    last year

  • Boomer N
    Original Author
    last year

  • jekeesl (south-central Arkansas)
    last year

    It reminds me of Spiraea cantoniensis, but you are well outside of the expected range for that species.

  • dbarron
    last year

    Yes, it looks like a spirea, and I doubt it's a native.

  • floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK
    last year

    There's no doubt as to its being a Spiraea. The question is which one? S prunifolia 'Plena' is similar. Not native.

  • Boomer N
    Original Author
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Thanks for the feedback. It's way back in my river bottom understory so I'm a bit surprised it's surviving. Only one I've seen on my acreage so at least it's not prolific. Pretty little plant but I'll probably remove it next time I battle in my never ending war with invasives primarily: sericea lespedeza, multiflora rose, autumn olive and japanese honeysuckle (fortunately no bush honeysuckle yet)! I have a couple more trees and shrubs I can't quite ID so I may post a few more pictures soon. Thanks again for all the help!

  • windberry zone5a BCCanada
    last year

    " Pretty little plant but I'll probably remove it "

    Quite sad. A little bit of biodiversity could not do harm. To my knowledge the only Spirea that may be considered invasive is S. japonica, although I may be wrong.

  • fatamorgana2121
    last year
    last modified: last year

    S. japonica is the only spirea my state lists with an invasive rating: http://nyis.info/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/NYS-INVASIVE-PLANT-RANKS_March-2013.pdf


    But I would not be sad in its removal. Native species support native birds, insects, and more. Your alien species, not so much or not at all. Articles and research that have been done on this are easy to find. Look for anything that mentions Doug Tallamy and birds.

  • windberry zone5a BCCanada
    last year

    I would rather worry about all those herbicides, fungicides, insecticides, termiticides, miticides, nematicides, molluscicids, piscicides, avicides, rodenticides, bactericides, insect repellents, animal repellents, antimicrobials, fungicides, mono-culture agriculture, clearcuting first, before I start worrying about how much harm can be done by one, lonely, little, non-invasive Spirea plant growing, to its misfortune, where it was not planted.

  • dbarron
    last year

    What I have found is that bridal wreath spirea is one of those legacy plants that can last 50 years past when the house it was planted at, rotted down and disappeared. So, it may be right where it was originally planted.

  • Old Forester ( Zones 8a-6a ) Ga/NC
    last year

    I occasionally run across these in isolated areas from long ago abandoned homesteads in central Ga. They spread in the open area from where planted but don't invade the woods. Must have been a popular plant in the day.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    last year

    And non-native species can support a lot of wildlife as well, often just as much as native species do. IME, if it produces a berry or drupe, the birds will eat it regardless of where it origiated! And often, weeds are some of the best plants for attracting pollinators and beneficial insects, yet routinely get pulled or sprayed. It's not so much a clear cut natives versus non-natives issue as it is evaluating each plant on a case by case basis. Spiraea is attractive to bees, butterflies and night pollinators....and not just the native species of spiraea :)

    And I support windberry's contention 100%!!

  • Embothrium
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Definitely Spiraea prunifolia. This double Japanese garden version was seen in the West ahead (ca. 1845) of the original species native to China, named therefore as the wild species ('Plena' is a synonym). With the wild plant being differentiated later as f. simpliciflora. Other examples of such reverse naming, also dating from antique times include Phyllostachys nigra (black-stemmed variant, introduced 1827) and P. nigra f. henonis (wild green parent, being grown by 1890), Rose banksiae (double garden form, introduced in 1807) and R. banksiae var. normalis (single-flowered wild species, introduced to the unsuitably cold and dull summers of Scotland in 1796, not coming to light until cuttings of this planting flowered during 1909 in Nice), and so on, through the list.

  • fatamorgana2121
    last year

    It is a no brainer, native plants are better for native fauna as evolution over countless generations has made it that way. If you love birds, butterflies, and every other native animal, go check the research done. I linked one article on it above but more in depth info is available if you really want to dig into it. Invasive or not, non-natives are not going to support the ecosystem and its indigenous inhabitants as well as natives and in some cases, not at all.

  • Embothrium
    last year
    last modified: last year

    And presumably a double flowered form like the one discussed here is not going to offer much to pollinators.

    Some years ago it was determined that native songbirds prefer native tree species at the Seattle arboretum, spend less time in foreign ones even when these are in the same genus. However we also have native band-tailed pigeons eating ivy berries in this region and robins going for cotoneaster fruits when other sources of moisture are frozen. Which will of course have a lot to do with how these plants have become so pervasive here.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I can list all manner of nonnative plants and shrubs that are attractive to wildlife and support pollinators so blanketly stating that natives are superior in this regard is misleading at best.

  • texasranger2
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Embothrium brought up an interesting fact. If this species was brought west as early as 1854 it made me wonder about the history of your place. Who planted it and when? If it was me, I'd be interested to know if this is an old homestead that was abandoned. We have many abandoned homesteads and dying small towns here in Oklahoma and it always makes me wonder about the lives of the people when I see the irises still blooming in spring or a forsythia bush or a spirea. Its common to see such plants in small abandoned cemetery's which tells bits of the human story.

    Personally I don't believe all non-native plants should be deemed detrimental to the environment. Sometimes there is some interesting history in these plants which represent a rural way of life which is almost gone. Not to get into a political tangle but I am saddened by the current attitude of many people and their attempts to erase or rewrite history in America concerning statues and memorials being torn down along with promoting an attitude that "whites" are evil which is taking place in our universities.

    In other words, there are different trains of thought because there are usually many sides to every issue.

    Maybe it doesn't offer much to pollinators but still, its a lovely sight and the romantic in me wonders if it possibly represents a bit of history of your property about people long gone. If its not invasive, what it the actual harm? I suppose it depends on how much of a technical purist you are but I always keep in mind some things are good for the soul, like beauty.

  • dandy_line (Z3b N Cent Mn)
    last year

    It's too bad this posting can't be locked in order to prevent well minded folks from claiming that some non-natives can be superior to what natural selection has provided for all of the fauna in the neighborhood. Just because it can be observed that insects are crawling all over some plant that originated in some other continent is not relevant. The plant may be supporting a host of others but unfortunately it is also taking up space that would be hosting native(s). This is how we get species die off, which can cause a chain reaction affecting the entire bio community.

    Claiming that some non-natives are healthy is wrong wrong wrong.

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    last year

    And making unsubstantiated claims that somehow ALL natives are "superior" to ALL exotic or non-native plants is also wrong, wrong, wrong!! This would be a very boring gardening world if all we had to work with were native species!!

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion - and that is all that it is - just as is anyone else with a different viewpoint. But don't suggest "closing down" posts that happen to disagree wth your very narrow outlook. That is just censorship and the last I checked, the freedom and privilege to hold other opinions was still a protected right.

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    last year
    last modified: last year

    Yeah , originally I went off on windberry and then deleted my comment. There is a fine line and if something is benign it's fine, or is it really. For some of us native lovers, it is upsetting to hear others casually condone growing exotics with a world view perspective, when we ourselves are fighting a constant battle against plants destroying our local ecosystems, plants like invasive bush honeysuckle, garlic mustard, japanese honeysuckle, privet, motherwort , swallowwort, morus alba, dioscorea batatus, mile a minute vine, European buckthorn, thapsus,empress, bradford, ect, ect ect. It was casual condonement that let all these plagues get a foothold!

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    last year

    In this age with so many beautiful species dwindling I think everyone should make it their responsability to learn about and grow the species that have evolved to be a part of their local ecosystem and food web. It's a question of how much are you willing to do to heal the enviroment. You can grow a patch of pretty Eurasian spirea for your own selfish reasons or grow the host plant for the big, beautiful moth that evolved to be there. Your choice. Ignorance is bliss. 3 acre monoculture lawns. It's prime mowing time!

  • windberry zone5a BCCanada
    last year
    last modified: last year

    "The plant may be supporting a host of others but unfortunately it is also taking up space that would be hosting native(s)"

    So, how much space filled with grasses alien to your area your lawn takes dandy? Don't you think that space should be rather hosting natives?

    Doesn't bother you that according to a 2005 NASA study "conservatively" estimated there was 128,000 square kilometers (49,000 sq mi; 32,000,000 acres) of irrigated lawn in the US? Doesn't bother you that 50 to 70% of residential water is used for landscaping, most of it to water lawns? (Wikipedia)

    So, do your share. As Jay said, it is mowing time!

  • gardengal48 (PNW Z8/9)
    last year

    The problem with broad generalizations such as have been stated is that they are not necessarily uniformly applicable in all cases. Native plants typically have defined regional preferences and what is native and grows well in one part of the country does not necessarily mean it will show similar attributes or thrive everywhere else.

    And some natives are just not very garden worthy in a cultivated setting. Plant them and you risk a visit by your local HOA telling you to clean up the mess! PNW natives tend to be woodland shade dwellers for the most part and wild and wooly in appearance. Great if your property is shady or borders a greenbelt or native area or you have plenty of room. Not so great at all if a more petite property and a very urban setting and lots of sun!

  • Jay 6a Chicago
    last year
    last modified: last year

    I do know that Dandy's lawn is basically made up of the native Carex pensylvanica that was there when he moved there, so like uh next? I don't think it needs mowing or watering.


    https://youtu.be/om4gKdODCwg

  • gyr_falcon
    last year

    Apparently ignorance is bliss. But I doubt most have completely missed the video footage of the massive wildfires we often experience in Southern California. Chaparral burns great. Think about it. How smart would it be to plant those same native tinder plants next to our homes? It isn't as if you can clear a 200' buffer zone in yards that are usually under 10,000 sq.ft.

    Many do what they can, providing nectar plants or native host plants interspersed with less flammable items in the landscape, for example. Groups try to protect critical open space to provide habitat.

    But in my area, there are suggestion lists put out of fire resistant plants for our landscapes. Local native species are not very numerous on those lists, for a very good reason.

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