Plant ID forum: Spiraea alba?

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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Aug 10, 2017 9:07 AM CST
I took this picture by a river in Ontario this morning with my phone. I believed it to be Spiraea alba, and a Google search and my wildflower field guide seemed to confirm this but when I look in the NGA database, the pictures there don't look like the same plant. Can I have some second....third....more opinions please? I know my picture doesn't have enough detail, I was pretty sure I knew what it was.



Spiraea alba in the NGA database:
Meadowsweet (Spiraea alba)
Name: Janine
NE Connecticut (Zone 6a)
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janinilulu
Aug 10, 2017 11:46 AM CST
Yours looks like Spiraea alba and the database looks like Filipendula ulmaria to me.

Edited to say that I don't know what the heck I'm talking about!!

[Last edited by janinilulu - Aug 11, 2017 3:11 PM (+)]
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Aug 11, 2017 1:04 PM CST
Thanks Janine. @dave and @Char, this link below is to the Flora of Wisconsin for Spiraea alba. You both have photos in the database but they don't look like this or my photo above - just wondering if you have any thoughts about the ID?

http://wisflora.herbarium.wisc...
Name: Char
Vermont (Zone 4b)
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Char
Aug 11, 2017 1:34 PM CST
The shrub I purchased locally was labeled Spiraea alba. After doing some looking around I think it is a japonica. Wonder if it might be Spiraea japonica var. albiflora? Interesting that I can't find that one in the database...maybe there was a change of name Shrug! If we figure it out I'd be happy to move the image.
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Aug 11, 2017 2:16 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I only know that my Spiraea alba looks nothing like the plant in your photo. I'm not aware of any changes to the botanical name for that plant but I haven't looked at it recently.
Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
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Leftwood
Aug 11, 2017 4:58 PM CST
The pic looks like the Spiraea alba I have seen in the wild in the northern tier of the USA. It fits the Flora of North America description of the species over the other listed possibilities. http://www.efloras.org/florata... Waterside or wet habitat is typical for S. alba, at least in the north.

One might look at the inflorescence shape and structure to help determine the validity of the the DB pics.
http://www.efloras.org/florata...
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Region: Texas Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Permaculture Raises cows
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dave
Aug 11, 2017 8:36 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

@KentPfeiffer may be able to shed additional light on this.
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Aug 19, 2017 4:21 AM CST
I took some more pictures when I was in the area last week but I'm not sure these are adequate since in NGA we are separating Spiraea alba from Spiraea alba var. latifolia and I can't quite make up my mind which it is, so I guess I'll have to try and get closer to further examine it next time (hopefully without falling into the river :lol:) unless someone can tell from these pictures. A flora of this area only lists S. alba but of course that could encompass both.








Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
Seed Starter Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Leftwood
Aug 19, 2017 3:59 PM CST
If you use the Flora of North America:

You show a lot of panicles that are wider than 6cm and your sample leaf apex is not acute, rather it is acute-obtuse to obtuse (and there are other leaves in your photos that are similar). Length/width ratios seem inconclusive and I don't have an opinion on whether leaves are serrate or serrulate. It's most often the combination of characteristics that distinguish the variety when there aren't any cut and dry diagnostic features. If you could isolate some individual flowers, you could count the stamens to aid the ID, but even that might not be the determining characteristic. I certainly lean to var. latifolia.

Did you see these?
https://gobotany.newenglandwil...
http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dend...
http://dendro.cnre.vt.edu/dend...
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
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sooby
Aug 19, 2017 4:23 PM CST
I had looked at those links when I was going around in circles leaning first one way and then the other. I too am currently leaning towards var. latifolia. Your links, though, reminded me that looking at the sepal apex should distinguish them. I'll be back there in a few days and will check that out - thank you Smiling
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Aug 24, 2017 8:49 AM CST
I was back in the area of the plant again today, and based on the Flora Novae Angliae that Leftwood linked to above (gobotany):

"1a.  Rachis of panicle and hypanthium tomentulose; leaf blades oblanceolate, 3–4 (or more) times as long as wide; branchlets brown to yellow-brown; sepals obtuse at the apex 
 … 1a. S. alba var. alba

1b. Rachis of panicle and hypanthium ± glabrous; leaf blades broad-oblanceolate to oblong or obovate, 2–3 times as long as wide; branchlets purple-brown to red-brown; sepals acute at the apex … 1b. S. alba var. latifolia (Ait.) Dippel"

It looks like it is confirmed as Spiraea alba var. latifolia based on the sepals being acute at the apex. Not the best pictures, the flowers are small and my phone doesn't do macro so I took them through a hand magnifying lens.




Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN, USA zon
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Garden Photography Region: Minnesota Hybridizer
Seed Starter Plant Identifier Million Pollinator Garden Challenge
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Leftwood
Aug 24, 2017 12:34 PM CST
Stamen length is correct for lafifolia, too, according to the FNA. Thumbs up
Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4a)
Daylilies Birds Enjoys or suffers cold winters Native Plants and Wildflowers Butterflies Annuals
Region: Canadian Keeps Horses Dog Lover Plant Identifier Garden Sages
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sooby
Aug 24, 2017 2:21 PM CST
Thumbs up Thank you, Leftwood and everyone for your help Smiling

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