Shrub to 2 m tall Leaves: alternate, short-stalked, 5 - 8 cm long, oblong to oblong-lance-shaped, tapering at both ends, toothed on upper two-thirds, usually with grayish hairs beneath (at least when young). Flowers: borne in a dense pyramidal inflorescence (panicle) 10 - 20 cm long and longer than wide, bright rose fading to brown, with five sepals, five petals, and stamens nearly twice as long as the petals. Fruit: firm and dry, breaking open along one side (follicle), parallel sided, hairless, with tiny oblong seeds. Twig: brown and hairy.
Similar species: Spiraea alba differs by having a more or less hairless lower leaf surface. Spiraea prunifolia has an unbranched inflorescence (umbel). Spiraea tomentosa has a densely hairy lower leaf surface and hairy fruit.
Flowering: June to August
Habitat and ecology: Only one voucher of this species was collected in the Chicago Region. It grew along a power-line right-of way in a prairie remnant.
Occurence in the Chicago region: non-native
Notes: This species is occasionally grown in the landscape, but it suffers from iron chlorosis in alkaline soils.
Etymology: Spiraea comes from the Greek word speiraira, a plant used to make garlands.