Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mistaken Identity

Oops, both are actually Meadowsweet

On looking back on an older post from May 2010, I realized that I had misidentified a native Spiraea.  While I had initially planted both Meadowsweet and Steeplebush in this spot, only the Meadowsweet had survived.  This became evident while visiting my sister last week.  I had given her a couple of pots of Steeplebush that I had grown from seed last year because she has a moister site, preferred by that particular species.

In this photo of Steeplebush, Spiraea tomentosa, gone to seed, you can see the the tight, upright flower plumes (typically pink to purple) and the deeply veined leaves, indicative to that species.  While I think it would be happier growing out in a moister area of the yard (growing to 4' tall), it appears to have a very nice form growing in a pot.  Maybe this is another 'Natives in Pots' candidate.  I'll have to see if I still have some leftover seed.

Meadowsweet, Spiraea alba, on the other hand has looser flower panicles (white to pale pink) and the leaves are not as deeply veined.  The specific variety I have, Var. latifolia, is native to drier upland sites, which explains how well adapted it is to growing around my house.  Mine bloomed continuously from early June until October and was a favorite of the bees.

It just goes to show, no matter how badly you want to have a plant, sometimes it just isn't there.

1 comment:

Laurrie said...

I transplanted a lovely ornamental oregano Hopley's Purple from a container to the garden and loved it, watched it grow, puzzled over its purple spiky flowers and strong, strange scent, but hey. After two full seasons I realized it was not what I thought I planted. It was mint. But for two full years I insisted it was something else because that's what I had put there.