Spiraea thunbergii

4 Apr

Spiraea thunbergii flower (30/03/2011, London)

Spiraea thunbergii flower (30/03/2011, London)

Position: Full sun to partial shade

Soil: Moist, well drained

Flowering period: Spring

Eventual Height: 1.5m

Eventual Spread: 2m

Hardiness: 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b

Family: Rosaceae

Spiraea thunbergii is a deciduous or semi evergreen long lived small shrub. It has a dense, bushy habit of arching branches and flexible stems. It has slender, lance shaped, sparsely toothed, light green leaves. It bears bowl or saucer shaped white flowers in stalk-less corymbs.

Spiraea thunbergii, commonly known as Baby’s Breath Spiraea, Thunberg Spirea or Yuki-yanagi (in Japanese) is native to China and Japan. It was discovered in Japan by Philipp Franz von Siebold, a German doctor and plant collector.

The etymological root of the binomial name Spiraea is derived from the Greek speira meaning ‘a wreath’ Thunbergii is named after the 19th century Swedish botanist Carl Peter Thunberg.

Spiraea thunbergii flower (30/03/2011, London)

Spiraea thunbergii flower (30/03/2011, London)

Spiraea thunbergii is useful to the landscape architect in low maintenance schemes, especially on slopes, divides and banks. It is also useful in informal naturalised schemes and will give a sense of change to the seasons. Unfortunately the specimen show in this photograph has been subject to a maintenance regime imposed by a local authority and implemented by non horticulturally trained contractors, hence the inelegant form of this specimen.

Ecologically, Spiraea thunbergii will cater to pollinating insects such as butterflies and bees with its pollen and nectar.

Spiraea thunbergii prefers moist, well-drained soils. It tolerates most pH of soil.

Spiraea thunbergii requires little maintenance. If its growth needs to be curtailed or contained it may be cut back in spring.

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