This is one of two native Spiraea spp.
in Illinois. The other species, Spiraea tomentosa
(Steeplebush), is a more hairy shrub with pink flowers. In Illinois, it is less common than Meadowsweet and prefers sandy wetlands. Another species, Spiraea latifolia
(Eastern Meadowsweet), is found in wetlands further to the east. This species is very similar in appearance to Spiraea alba
(Meadowsweet), except it has leaves that are more broad. Sometimes Eastern Meadowsweet is considered a variety of Meadowsweet and referred to as Spiraea alba latifolia
. The showy Spiraea spp.
that are commonly cultivated as landscape plants have been introduced from the Old World. They rarely escape from cultivation and are not often found in natural habitats.