Prepared by Jennifer L. D’Appollonio, Assistant Scientist, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469. Updated February 2018.

Scientific name: Spiraea alba Du Roi var. latifolia (Aiton) Dippel; old Spiraea latifolia (Aiton) Borkh.

Common name(s): meadowsweet, white meadowsweet

Links: USDA PLANTS Profile, NPIN Profile, Go Botany

Images: (to see enlargements [PC]: click on image, then right click and choose “view image”)


– flowering perennial shrub

– generally flowers late June to August in ME

-Erect, woody, shrub 2′-6′ with reddish stems

-Leaves lance-shaped

  • alternate
  • finely toothed
  • 1″-2″ long and 1/4″-1.25″ wide

-Terminal inflorescence usually pyramidal shaped

  • flowers 5 part
  • white to pink 1/16″-1/4″ wide in dense groups

– may be confused with steeplebush (S. tomentosa), which has a woolly underside to leaves and also occurs in wild blueberry fields; see left sidebar on Go Botany webpage





-forest openings




Hansen, R.W., S.B. Hansen and E.A. Osgood. 1991. Reproductive phenologies of selected flowering plants in eastern Maine forests. ME Agric. Exp. Station Tech. Bull. 143. 17 pp.

Heinrich, B. 1976. Flowering phenologies: Bog, woodland, and disturbed habitats. Ecology. 57(5):890-899.