Plant Database forum: Rosy spirea

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Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
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Bonehead
Aug 15, 2014 12:03 PM CST
I want to add a photo of a native plant found on Mount Rainier and ID'd by a placard as 'Rosy Spirea'. Can't find that specific match in the database. It appears the latin name is Spiraea densiflora which is also not in the database. The closest I am finding is Rose Spirea, Spiraea douglasii var. douglasii, but no photos so I can't compare. Are these plants the same as one another?
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Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
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KentPfeiffer
Aug 15, 2014 12:10 PM CST

Plants Admin

Spiraea densiflora is a synonym of .

There aren't any pictures in the database, yet, but the USDA Plants site has some.

http://plants.usda.gov/core/profile?symbol=SPSPS

Do they look like that?
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
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Bonehead
Aug 15, 2014 12:48 PM CST
Kent, yes, I think that is the correct plant. My local native field guide also ID's as alpine spirea which is listed as a common name for S. splendens var. splendens. I'll upload my photo to that entry and add whatever other info I can glean from my field guide.

On an unrelated note, what does the var. mean? I assume it stands for variety, but seems it is often just a repeat of the species name. Is this something that is used more for native plants, similar to a cultivar name?
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Kent Pfeiffer
Southeast Nebraska (Zone 5b)
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator Plant Identifier Region: Nebraska Forum moderator
Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Irises Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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KentPfeiffer
Aug 15, 2014 3:10 PM CST

Plants Admin

Yep, var. is just the abbreviation for variety. It's a taxonomic subdivision below the species level. It's typically used when separate populations of a given species are not distinct enough to be classified as subspecies, but they are distinct enough to be recognized.

Spiraea splendens has two varieties for example, the "typical" variety, Spiraea splendens var. splendens and another variety called Spiraea splendens var. rosea. I assume there's something noticeably different in appearance between those two varieties, but I don't know enough about them to tell you what it might be. Spiraea splendens var. rosea has a very limited distribution in Idaho, so I'd imagine there's an isolated population on some mountain there that has different colored flowers, or growth habit, or something like that.

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