(fill-i-pen' du-lah)

Common name: Meadowsweet, Queen-of-the-Meadow, False Spirea

Family: Rosaceae, Rose

Height x width: 2-8' x 2-4' (varies with species)

Growth rate, habit: moderate; upright, spreading clumps

Foliage: alternate, 4-8" long, pinnately compound with 7-9 leaflets, crinkled texture, white tomentose below; some species with sessile, long narrow leaves

Flowers: numerous small flowers in panicles with 5-6 petals per flowers, white to pink, early to mid-summer

(photo courtesy Todd Weinmann,

Hardiness: zones 3-8 or 9

Soil: moist, well-drained, organic; vulgaris tolerates dry, rubra and ulmaria tolerate soggy; alkaline pH 7.0-7.5 prefered

Light: sun, tolerates part shade

Pests and problems: powdery mildew (uncommon), Japanese beetles

Landscape habit, uses: borders, natural or native areas, fine texture effect, streamsides and bogs

Other interest: native to Europe; name from Latin filum or thread and pendulus or drooping refering to root tubers of some species hanging together by threads; used by herbalists as an infusion to alleviate pain, salicylic acid (main ingredient of aspirin) was first derived from ulmaria flowers in 1839; used in middle ages to flavor fermented honey.

Other culture: performs best in cool climates, but tolerates hot climates given adequate moisture and shade

Propagation: division (requires a sharp knife for the tough roots), seedlings self sown, purchased seed (often hard to find, may require warm-cold stratification)



kamtschatica (kam-schah' ti-cah)--Manchurian Meadowsweet, zones 3-8, 6-9' tall, white to pale pink flowers late summer, 12" wide dark green sharply toothed leaves, native to Manchuria and Kamchatka to Japan

palmata (pal-maa' tah)--Siberian Meadowsweet, zones 3-7, 3-4' tall, pink flowers, native to Siberia, wide palmately divided leaves

purpurea (pur-pur' ee-ah)--Japanese Meadowsweet, zones 6-8, 3-4', deep pink flowers and red stems, long pointed serrated leaflets, native to Japan

rubra (rue' brah)--Queen-of-the-Prairie, 6-8' tall, zones 3-7, pink flowers in summer, native to the central U.S., usually doesn't require staking

ulmaria (ul-mar' ee-ah)--Queen-of-the-Meadow, 3-6' tall, zones 3-7, white flowers in summer, native to Asia and Europe, whitish leaves hairy below

vulgaris (vul-gair' iss)--Dropwort Meadowsweet, 2-3' tall, zones 3-7, white flowers in summer, native to Europe, flattened inflorescences often tinged pink, shiny green divided leaves give fern appearance, good groundcover

Cultivars species flowers other
'Alba' palmata white  
'Albicans' rubra white, early 5-6' tall
'Aurea' ulmaria white, not showy golden foliage
'Digitata Nana':'Nana' palmata    
'Elegantissima' palmata white, red stamens compact
'Flore Pleno' ulmaria white, double, showy  
'Flore Pleno' vulgaris white, double 1-2' tall
'Grandiflora' vulgaris white, large  
'Nana' palmata pink 8-10" tall
'Rosea' palmata pink  
'Rosea' vulgaris light pink  
'Rubra' palmata dark reddish  
'Variegata' ulmaria white central yellow leaf stripe
'Venusta' rubra deep pink to red common

©Authored by Dr. Leonard Perry, Professor, University of Vermont as part of PSS123 course.

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