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Ninebark is closely related to the better-known Spiraea spp. (Spiraea species) as they have similar fruits. Unlike many other shrubs in the Rose family, these fruits are non-fleshy and inedible to humans. Ninebark can be recognized by its lobed leaves, peculiar shredded bark, and drooping clusters of inflated fruits. The flowers are quite attractive during the relatively short period when they are in bloom. This is the only Physocarpus sp. in Illinois, although there are other species in this small genus in some of the western states.

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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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