Beware Japanese Spirea

last month

A few years ago I joined others on a June fieldtrip to Gunpowder Falls State Park in Maryland. Earlier that year we visited the site and saw beautiful trilliums and large colonies of Christmas and Silvery Spleenwort ferns. On this trip we were surprised to see 10's of thousands of waist high, pink (occasionally white) flowering shrubs blooming in the floodplain. We keyed it out to Spiraea japonica.

How is it possible that an alien species could show up in a remote section of a state park? We figured it must have escaped from someone's garden several miles upstream.

THIS link shows examples of Asian weeds invading our natural areas not unlike fleas on a dog's back. Once there not only do they take up permanent residence but they overwhelm native flora.

Spiraea japonica is highly variable, some commercial selections have yellow foliage, some selections are white flowered. My suggestion is to avoid them, otherwise be prepared to get busy with the herbicide.

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