Overview

Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Unknown/Undetermined

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Unknown/Undetermined

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Occurrence in North America

     ID  MT  OR  SD  WA  WY  AB  BC  SK

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White spirea is generally confined to the middle elevation foothills
and montane zones of the Intermountain West [19,23,32,40].  In the
western United States, this species ranges from southern Idaho, north
through eastern Oregon and Washington, and east to north-central
Wyoming.  White spirea also occurs in western Montana and in the Black
Hills of South Dakota [14,15,19,23,32,40].  In Canada, white spirea
occurs in southern British Columbia, southern Saskatchewan, and eastern
Alberta [14,19].
  • 23.  Lackschewitz, Klaus. 1991. Vascular plants of west-central        Montana--identification guidebook. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-227. Ogden, UT:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research        Station. 648 p.  [13798]
  • 14.  Fowler, W. B.; Tiedemann, A. R. 1980. Phenological relationships of        Spiraea betulifolia Pall. and Apocynum androsaemifolium L. Northwest        Science. 54(1): 17-25.  [4057]
  • 15.  Franklin, Jerry F.; Dyrness, C. T. 1973. Natural vegetation of Oregon        and Washington. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-8. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range        Experiment Station. 417 p.  [961]
  • 19.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p.  [1168]
  • 32.  Scotter, George W.; Viti, Dale H. 1992. Bryophytes of the Melville Hills        region, Northwest Territories. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 106(1):        100-104.  [21175]
  • 40.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant        handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p.  [2387]

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Regional Distribution in the Western United States

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This species can be found in the following regions of the western United States (according to the Bureau of Land Management classification of Physiographic Regions of the western United States):

    5  Columbia Plateau
    8  Northern Rocky Mountains
    9  Middle Rocky Mountains
   15  Black Hills Uplift

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

More info for the term: shrub

White spirea is a native, moderately shade-tolerant, deciduous,
rhizomatous shrub, with root development well into the soil profile
[2,9,14,19,35,37].  White spirea has cinnamon-brown scaly bark on its
erect stems, which are 1 to 3 feet (30-90 cm) tall [40].  The small
flowers are gathered in nearly flat-topped clusters about 1.5 inches (4
cm) across.  The flowers turn brown soon after fertilization and give
way to small, dry, podlike fruits [32].
  • 2.  Bradley, Anne Foster. 1984. Rhizome morphology, soil distribution, and        the potential fire survival of eight woody understory species in western        Montana. Missoula, MT: University of Montana. 183 p. Thesis.  [502]
  • 9.  Crane, M. F.; Habeck, James R.; Fischer, William C. 1983. Early postfire        revegetation in a western Montana Douglas-fir forest. Res. Pap. INT-319.        Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain        Forest and Range Experiment Station. 29 p. plus chart.  [710]
  • 14.  Fowler, W. B.; Tiedemann, A. R. 1980. Phenological relationships of        Spiraea betulifolia Pall. and Apocynum androsaemifolium L. Northwest        Science. 54(1): 17-25.  [4057]
  • 19.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p.  [1168]
  • 32.  Scotter, George W.; Viti, Dale H. 1992. Bryophytes of the Melville Hills        region, Northwest Territories. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 106(1):        100-104.  [21175]
  • 35.  Steele, Robert; Geier-Hayes, Kathleen. 1989. The Douglas-fir/ninebark        habitat type in central Idaho: succession and management. Gen. Tech.        Rep. INT-252. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Research Station. 65 p.  [8136]
  • 37.  Stickney, Peter F. 1985. Data base for early postfire succession on the        Sundance Burn, northern Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-189. Ogden, UT: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research        Station. 121 p.  [7223]
  • 40.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant        handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p.  [2387]

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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat characteristics

More info for the term: phenology

White spirea is common on brushy or open slopes, as well as in forests
from the foothills through the montane zone.  It is often abundant in
low-elevation (1,000 to 4,000 feet [305-1,219 m]) dry forests, but can
also be found in some high-elevation (10,000 feet [3,048 m]) wet forests
[19,23,32].  White spirea grows well on dry, rocky sites because of its
rhizomatous nature [15,32].  Soil moisture does not play a major role in
the distribution and phenology of white spirea [14].  White spirea
occupies forest habitat types associated with parent material ranging
from limestone to quartz [6,28].  Aspect had a major influence on the
survival of transplanted white spirea in northwestern Montana [21].
Survival was significantly lower on western aspects than on either
southern or eastern aspects.
  • 23.  Lackschewitz, Klaus. 1991. Vascular plants of west-central        Montana--identification guidebook. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-227. Ogden, UT:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research        Station. 648 p.  [13798]
  • 6.  Clayton, James L. 1974. Clay mineralogy of soils in the Idaho Batholith.        Geological Society of America Bulletin. 85: 229-232.  [8191]
  • 14.  Fowler, W. B.; Tiedemann, A. R. 1980. Phenological relationships of        Spiraea betulifolia Pall. and Apocynum androsaemifolium L. Northwest        Science. 54(1): 17-25.  [4057]
  • 15.  Franklin, Jerry F.; Dyrness, C. T. 1973. Natural vegetation of Oregon        and Washington. Gen. Tech. Rep. PNW-8. Portland, OR: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Forest and Range        Experiment Station. 417 p.  [961]
  • 19.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p.  [1168]
  • 21.  Hungerford, Roger D. 1984. Native shrubs: suitability for revegetating        road cuts in northwestern Montana. Res. Pap. INT-331. Ogden, UT: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and        Range Experiment Station. 13 p.  [1220]
  • 28.  Nimlos, Thomas J.; Tomer, Mark. 1982. Mollisols beneath conifer forests        in southwestern Montana. Soil Science. 134(6): 371-375.  [7261]
  • 32.  Scotter, George W.; Viti, Dale H. 1992. Bryophytes of the Melville Hills        region, Northwest Territories. Canadian Field-Naturalist. 106(1):        100-104.  [21175]

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Key Plant Community Associations

More info for the terms: climax, series, shrub

White spirea is a dominant shrub species occurring mostly in
forested communities of low to moderate precipitation.  Habitat types
that include white spirea as an indicator species are the Douglas-fir
(Pseudotsuga menziesii), subalpine fir (Abies lasiocarpa), grand fir
(A. grandis), ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa), and lodgepole pine
(P. contorta) climax series [7,20,27,30,36].  White spirea is also found
in many moist community types and plant associations [3,10,11].

Publications listing white spirea as an indicator or dominant species in
habitat types (hts), community types (cts), or plant associations (pas)
are listed below:

Area             Classification         Authority            

  MT              forest hts             Pfister & others 1977
n ID              forest hts             Cooper & others  1991
c ID              forest hts             Steele & others  1981
n WY              forest hts             Hoffman & Alexander 1976
w WY              forest hts             Steele & others  1981
s ID, w WY        forest cts             Mueggler & Campbell 1982
e ID, w WY        forest cts             Steele & others  1983
  • 7.  Cooper, Stephen V.; Neiman, Kenneth E.; Roberts, David W. 1991. (Rev.)        Forest habitat types of northern Idaho: a second approximation. Gen.        Tech. Rep. INT-236. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Intermountain Research Station. 143 p.  [14792]
  • 3.  Brown, James K.; Simmerman, Dennis G. 1986. Appraising fuels and        flammability in western aspen: a prescribed fire guide. Gen. Tech. Rep.        INT-205. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Research Station. 48 p.  [544]
  • 10.  Daubenmire, R. 1952. Forest vegetation of northern Idaho and adjacent        Washington, and its bearing on concepts of vegetation classification.        Ecological Monographs. 22(4): 301-330.  [25238]
  • 11.  Daubenmire, Rexford F.; Daubenmire, Jean B. 1968. Forest vegetation of        eastern Washington and northern Idaho. Technical Bulletin 60. Pullman,        WA: Washington State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 104 p.        [749]
  • 20.  Hoffman, George R.; Alexander, Robert R. 1987. Forest vegetation of the        Black Hills National Forest of South Dakota and Wyoming: a habitat type        classification. Res. Pap. RM-276. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment        Station. 48 p.  [1181]
  • 27.  Mueggler, Walter F.; Campbell, Robert B., Jr. 1982. Aspen community        types on the Caribou and Targhee National Forests in southeastern Idaho.        Res. Pap. INT-294. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 32 p.        [1713]
  • 30.  Pfister, Robert D.; Kovalchik, Bernard L.; Arno, Stephen F.; Presby,        Richard C. 1977. Forest habitat types of Montana. Gen. Tech. Rep.        INT-34. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 174 p.  [1878]
  • 36.  Steele, Robert; Pfister, Robert D.; Ryker, Russell A.; Kittams, Jay A.        1981. Forest habitat types of central Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-114.        Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain        Forest and Range Experiment Station. 138 p.  [2231]

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Habitat: Ecosystem

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This species is known to occur in the following ecosystem types (as named by the U.S. Forest Service in their Forest and Range Ecosystem [FRES] Type classification):

   FRES20  Douglas-fir
   FRES21  Ponderosa pine
   FRES23  Fir - spruce
   FRES26  Lodgepole pine
   FRES29  Sagebrush
   FRES36  Mountain grasslands

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Habitat: Cover Types

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This species is known to occur in association with the following cover types (as classified by the Society of American Foresters):

   206  Engelmann spruce
   210  Interior Douglas-fir
   213  Grand fir
   218  Lodgepole pine
   237  Interior ponderosa pine

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Habitat: Plant Associations

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This species is known to occur in association with the following plant community types (as classified by Küchler 1964):

   K008  Lodgepole pine - subalpine forest
   K011  Western ponderosa forest
   K012  Douglas-fir forest
   K015  Western spruce - fir forest
   K055  Sagebrush steppe
   K063  Foothills prairie

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General Ecology

Fire Management Considerations

White spirea has generally not been the primary target of fire
management objectives.  Because white spirea has a substantial portion
of its rhizomes in mineral soil, it has been ranked in the highest
fire-survival category [2].  Therefore, white spirea can be relied on
as a dependable fire-survivor species.
  • 2.  Bradley, Anne Foster. 1984. Rhizome morphology, soil distribution, and        the potential fire survival of eight woody understory species in western        Montana. Missoula, MT: University of Montana. 183 p. Thesis.  [502]

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Broad-scale Impacts of Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: cover, frequency, restoration

White spirea relies on sprouting for postfire regeneration [25].
Sprouting from surviving rhizomes ensures abundant regrowth after
fires, if conditions are suitable [25].  Bushey [4], however, found that
white spirea decreased noticeably in postfire transects.  Soil
morphology and depth to rhizomes are important components for estimating
potential fire survival [2].

On ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir communities in the Blue Mountains
of northeastern Oregon, white spirea cover and frequency were higher
on sites that had been thinned 6 years previously than on prescribed
burned, thinned-and-burned, or control sites.  White spirea was determined
to be an indicator species for thinned sites (P≤0.05).  For further
information on the effects of thinning and burning treatments on white
spirea and 48 other species, see the Research Project Summary of Youngblood
and others' [43] study.

The following Research Project Summaries also provide information on prescribed
fire use and postfire response of plant community species including white spirea:
  • 2.  Bradley, Anne Foster. 1984. Rhizome morphology, soil distribution, and        the potential fire survival of eight woody understory species in western        Montana. Missoula, MT: University of Montana. 183 p. Thesis.  [502]
  • 4.  Bushey, Charles L. 1985. Summary of results from the Galena Gulch 1982        spring burns (Units 1b). Missoula, MT: Systems for Environmental        Management. 9 p.  [567]
  • 25.  Morgan, P.; Neuenschwander, L. F. 1988. Seed-bank contributions to        regeneration of shrub species after clear-cutting and burning. Canadian        Journal of Botany. 66: 169-172.  [3262]
  • 43. Youngblood, Andrew; Metlen, Kerry L.; Coe, Kent.  2006.  Changes in stand        structure and composition after restoration treatments in low elevation dry        forests of northeastern Oregon. Forest Ecology and Management. 234(1-3):        143-163.  [64992]

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Plant Response to Fire

More info for the terms: cover, frequency, shrub

White spirea demonstrates high survival capabilities following
holocaustic wildfires [38].  It is a rhizomatous shrub that not only
survives burning, but can often flower the year immediately following
the burn [9,35].  Geier-Hayes [17] found white spirea to increase in
cover and frequency following disturbance by fire.  In fact, white
spirea was found to increase in canopy cover 3 to 5 years after a burn
[26].  On lightly burned sites, white spirea showed no significant (5%)
levels of nutrient accumulations [33].
  • 9.  Crane, M. F.; Habeck, James R.; Fischer, William C. 1983. Early postfire        revegetation in a western Montana Douglas-fir forest. Res. Pap. INT-319.        Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain        Forest and Range Experiment Station. 29 p. plus chart.  [710]
  • 17.  Geier-Hayes, Kathleen. 1989. Vegetation response to helicopter logging        and broadcast burning in Douglas-fir habitat types at Silver Creek,        central Idaho. Res. Pap. INT-405. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of        Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station. 24 p.        [6810]
  • 26.  Morgan, Penelope; Neuenschwander, Leon F. 1988. Shrub response to high        and low severity burns following clearcutting in northern Idaho. Western        Journal of Applied Forestry. 3(1): 5-9.  [3895]
  • 33.  Stark, N. 1980. Light burning and the nutrient value of forage. Res.        Note INT-280. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 7 p.  [2223]
  • 35.  Steele, Robert; Geier-Hayes, Kathleen. 1989. The Douglas-fir/ninebark        habitat type in central Idaho: succession and management. Gen. Tech.        Rep. INT-252. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Research Station. 65 p.  [8136]
  • 38.  Stickney, Peter F. 1990. Early development of vegetation following        holocaustic fire in Northern Rocky Mountains. Northwest Science. 64(5):        243-246.  [12715]

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Immediate Effect of Fire

White spirea is almost always top-killed following fires of moderate to
high intensity.  The rhizomes are seldom consumed in similar fire
conditions [2,8,9,35].
  • 2.  Bradley, Anne Foster. 1984. Rhizome morphology, soil distribution, and        the potential fire survival of eight woody understory species in western        Montana. Missoula, MT: University of Montana. 183 p. Thesis.  [502]
  • 8.  Crane, M. F.; Fischer, William C. 1986. Fire ecology of the forest        habitat types of central Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-218. Ogden, UT: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research        Station. 85 p.  [5297]
  • 9.  Crane, M. F.; Habeck, James R.; Fischer, William C. 1983. Early postfire        revegetation in a western Montana Douglas-fir forest. Res. Pap. INT-319.        Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain        Forest and Range Experiment Station. 29 p. plus chart.  [710]
  • 35.  Steele, Robert; Geier-Hayes, Kathleen. 1989. The Douglas-fir/ninebark        habitat type in central Idaho: succession and management. Gen. Tech.        Rep. INT-252. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Research Station. 65 p.  [8136]

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Post-fire Regeneration

More info for the term: root crown

   survivor species; on-site surviving root crown or caudex
   survivor species; on-site surviving rhizomes

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Fire Ecology

White spirea is highly resistant to fire-kill.  It sprouts from
surviving root crowns, and from rhizomes positioned 2 to 5 inches (5-13
cm) below the soil surface [8].
  • 8.  Crane, M. F.; Fischer, William C. 1986. Fire ecology of the forest        habitat types of central Idaho. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-218. Ogden, UT: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research        Station. 85 p.  [5297]

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Successional Status

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: climax, cover, shrub

White spirea appears to be a satisfactory indicator plant for varying
climatic conditions [14].  Descriptions of northern and central Idaho
habitat types indicate that white spirea increased in importance as an
indicator species in the slightly drier and warmer conditions found in
ponderosa pine and Douglas-fir habitat types.

White spirea's canopy cover declines gradually beneath a tree
overstory, making it an indicator of late-seral to climax conditions.
In drier portions of Douglas-fir/ninebark (Physocarpus malvaceus)
habitat communities, which often border Douglas-fir/white spirea types,
white spirea may persist as a climax component of the shrub layer.  In
much of the Douglas-fir/ninebark habitat type, however, white spirea
gradually gives way to ninebark, making it a late seral indicator [35].
  • 14.  Fowler, W. B.; Tiedemann, A. R. 1980. Phenological relationships of        Spiraea betulifolia Pall. and Apocynum androsaemifolium L. Northwest        Science. 54(1): 17-25.  [4057]
  • 35.  Steele, Robert; Geier-Hayes, Kathleen. 1989. The Douglas-fir/ninebark        habitat type in central Idaho: succession and management. Gen. Tech.        Rep. INT-252. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Research Station. 65 p.  [8136]

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Regeneration Processes

More info for the terms: layering, natural, rhizome, shrub

White spirea is rhizomatous and usually grows in extensive colonies
[2,14,19,35].  Mechanical or natural disturbances rarely destroy the
white spirea root system, which usually will sprout within the next
growing season. 

White spirea stems often show signs of woody swellings due to the
fusion of adjacent segments.  Incipient perennating buds are well
distributed along the entire length of the rhizome [2].  Any section of
the rhizome is probably capable of generating new stems if it is large
enough to provide the carbohydrates necessary for sprouting.  White
spirea also appears capable of some layering from aerial stems.
Bradley [2] found a high proportion of white spirea perennating tissues
residing in the mineral soil at an average depth of 4.4 inches (11.2
cm).

White spirea produces small seeds that are occasionally dispersed via
small birds, rodents, and strong winds.  Overall seed production and
dispersal is low.  A soil seed-bank sampling study found white spirea
to be the least represented shrub species [25].  Seedlings of white
spirea are rarely found [35].
  • 2.  Bradley, Anne Foster. 1984. Rhizome morphology, soil distribution, and        the potential fire survival of eight woody understory species in western        Montana. Missoula, MT: University of Montana. 183 p. Thesis.  [502]
  • 14.  Fowler, W. B.; Tiedemann, A. R. 1980. Phenological relationships of        Spiraea betulifolia Pall. and Apocynum androsaemifolium L. Northwest        Science. 54(1): 17-25.  [4057]
  • 19.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p.  [1168]
  • 25.  Morgan, P.; Neuenschwander, L. F. 1988. Seed-bank contributions to        regeneration of shrub species after clear-cutting and burning. Canadian        Journal of Botany. 66: 169-172.  [3262]
  • 35.  Steele, Robert; Geier-Hayes, Kathleen. 1989. The Douglas-fir/ninebark        habitat type in central Idaho: succession and management. Gen. Tech.        Rep. INT-252. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Research Station. 65 p.  [8136]

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Growth Form (according to Raunkiær Life-form classification)

More info on this topic.

More info for the terms: geophyte, phanerophyte

   Undisturbed State:  Cryptophyte (geophyte)
   Undisturbed State:  Phanerophyte (nanophanerophyte)
   Burned or Clipped State:  Cryptophyte (geophyte)

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Life Form

More info for the term: shrub

Shrub

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Life History and Behavior

Cyclicity

Phenology

More info on this topic.

More info for the term: phenology

Seasonal development of white spirea is closely related to temperature
[14].  In eastern Washington, white spirea developed up to 2 months
later at higher elevations than at lower elevations [14].  Bud break
generally occurs in April, and first bloom occurs anywhere from May to
July.  Phenological development was drastically retarded for
transplanted white spirea (first bloom and seed production) in eastern
Washington [14].  Seasonal progression of white spirea phenology does
not relate well to calendar dates or photoperiodic tables, due to the
temperature differences between elevational sites.

Approximate timing of phenological events for white spirea at different
elevations on the Entiat Experimental Forest, eastern Washington, from
1972 to 1973 were as follows [14]:

Phenological Phase                  Elevation

                          590 m       1105 m        1635 m
                        (1,935 ft)   (3,624 ft)    (5,363 ft)

Bud Break              late March   early April  late April
4-6 leaf development   early April  mid-April    early May
Floral initiation      early May    mid-May      May-June
First bloom            May-June     mid-June     July
Peak bloom             mid-June     early July   July
  • 14.  Fowler, W. B.; Tiedemann, A. R. 1980. Phenological relationships of        Spiraea betulifolia Pall. and Apocynum androsaemifolium L. Northwest        Science. 54(1): 17-25.  [4057]

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Spiraea betulifolia

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 1
Specimens with Barcodes: 8
Species With Barcodes: 1
Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 (CC BY 3.0)

© Barcode of Life Data Systems

Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: NNR - Unranked

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

© NatureServe

Source: NatureServe

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0)

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Source: NatureServe

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Management

Management considerations

More info for the term: cover

White spirea is generally not selectively managed for cover, forage, or
other uses.  It has been found to have a high vegetative response to
many types of disturbances from logging to wildfires [35,42].  White
spirea generally regenerates quickly, and thus provides soil
stabilization after disturbance [21].  Since white spirea is not highly
selected by wildlife as forage, it would be a good species to introduce
into disturbed sites.
  • 21.  Hungerford, Roger D. 1984. Native shrubs: suitability for revegetating        road cuts in northwestern Montana. Res. Pap. INT-331. Ogden, UT: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and        Range Experiment Station. 13 p.  [1220]
  • 35.  Steele, Robert; Geier-Hayes, Kathleen. 1989. The Douglas-fir/ninebark        habitat type in central Idaho: succession and management. Gen. Tech.        Rep. INT-252. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Research Station. 65 p.  [8136]
  • 42.  Wittinger, W. T.; Pengelly, W. L.; Irwin, L. L.; Peek, J. M. 1977. A        20-year record of shrub succession in logged areas in the cedar- hemlock        zone of northern Idaho. Northwest Science. 51(3): 161-171.  [6828]

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Value for rehabilitation of disturbed sites

More info for the terms: cover, natural, shrubs

White spirea is generally not used for rehabilitation of disturbed
sites.  White spirea was used, however, along with other native shrubs,
to revegetate road cuts in northwestern Montana [21].  It was found to
have a 57 percent survival rate 4 years after planting and a composite
rating of 33 percent when measured for growth, vigor, natural spread,
and soil stabilization [21].  It was rated as 'medium' for soil erosion
reduction potential due to its moderately aggressive growth [18].  In
its first 3 years, however, white spirea was also found to show slow
growth, and only fair rates of growth, cover reproduction, and
maintenance thereafter [7,9,21].
  • 7.  Cooper, Stephen V.; Neiman, Kenneth E.; Roberts, David W. 1991. (Rev.)        Forest habitat types of northern Idaho: a second approximation. Gen.        Tech. Rep. INT-236. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest        Service, Intermountain Research Station. 143 p.  [14792]
  • 9.  Crane, M. F.; Habeck, James R.; Fischer, William C. 1983. Early postfire        revegetation in a western Montana Douglas-fir forest. Res. Pap. INT-319.        Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain        Forest and Range Experiment Station. 29 p. plus chart.  [710]
  • 18.  Hansen, Paul; Pfister, Robert; Joy, John; [and others]
  • 21.  Hungerford, Roger D. 1984. Native shrubs: suitability for revegetating        road cuts in northwestern Montana. Res. Pap. INT-331. Ogden, UT: U.S.        Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and        Range Experiment Station. 13 p.  [1220]

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Cover Value

More info for the term: cover

White spirea is rated poor for cover value.  Because it only achieves
a height from 1 to 3 feet (60 - 90 cm), the cover value for
wildlife is virtually non-existent [18].  The degree to which
white spirea provides environmental protection during one or more
seasons for wildlife species is as follows [12]:

                         Montana        * Information for other states
                                          not available.           
Elk                        poor
Mule deer                  poor
White-tailed deer          poor
Small mammals              poor
Small non-game birds       poor
Upland game birds          poor
  • 12.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806]
  • 18.  Hansen, Paul; Pfister, Robert; Joy, John; [and others]

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Palatability

White spirea's palatability rating is poor to fair for domesticated
range animals.  Mule deer and elk also find white spirea relatively
unpalatable [35].  The species' low palatability may result from the
presence of a volatile oil containing bitter salicylic aldehyde [40].
The relish and degree of use shown by livestock and wildlife species for
white spirea in Montana is rated as follows [12]:

                           Montana      * Information for other states
                                          not available.
Cattle                       poor
Sheep                        fair
Horses                       poor
Antelope                     fair
Elk                          poor
Mule deer                    fair
White-tailed deer            fair
Small mammals                poor
Small nongame birds          poor
Upland game birds            poor
Waterfowl                    poor
  • 12.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806]
  • 35.  Steele, Robert; Geier-Hayes, Kathleen. 1989. The Douglas-fir/ninebark        habitat type in central Idaho: succession and management. Gen. Tech.        Rep. INT-252. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Research Station. 65 p.  [8136]
  • 40.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant        handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p.  [2387]

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Importance to Livestock and Wildlife

More info for the terms: cover, presence, shrub

White spirea is not an important shrub species to livestock or
wildlife.  The leaves of white spirea persist on the plant longer than
those of other deciduous shrub species, which may account for its
moderate food value during autumn [40].  The low food value is sometimes
demonstrated by the substantial presence of white spirea on overgrazed
ranges, especially in areas where cattle concentrate [40].  White
spirea can grow in colonies, but not to the extent where it can be
adequately utilized by livestock or wildlife for cover.
  • 40.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant        handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p.  [2387]

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Nutritional Value

White spirea can serve as summer forage for livestock [39].  Most
studies, however, conclude that white spirea is a poor forage species,
and is generally not used by livestock or wildlife [12,19,29,35,40].
  • 12.  Dittberner, Phillip L.; Olson, Michael R. 1983. The plant information        network (PIN) data base: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, Utah, and        Wyoming. FWS/OBS-83/86. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior,        Fish and Wildlife Service. 786 p.  [806]
  • 19.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p.  [1168]
  • 29.  Pengelly, W. Leslie. 1963. Timberlands and deer in the northern Rockies.        Journal of Forestry. 61: 734-740.  [175]
  • 35.  Steele, Robert; Geier-Hayes, Kathleen. 1989. The Douglas-fir/ninebark        habitat type in central Idaho: succession and management. Gen. Tech.        Rep. INT-252. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,        Intermountain Research Station. 65 p.  [8136]
  • 39.  Thilenius, John Frederick. 1960. Forage utilization by cattle and        white-tailed deer on a northern Idaho forest range. Moscow, ID:        University of Idaho. 87 p. Thesis.  [5910]
  • 40.  U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 1937. Range plant        handbook. Washington, DC. 532 p.  [2387]

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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Common Names

white spirea
spirea
shiny-leaf spirea
birchleaf spirea
white meadowsweet

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The currently accepted scientific name of white spirea is Spiraea
betulifolia Pall. Two varieties, distinguished by floral
characteristics, are [19,23]:

S. betulifolia var. betulifolia
S. betulifolia var. lucida (Dougl.) Hitchc.
  • 23.  Lackschewitz, Klaus. 1991. Vascular plants of west-central        Montana--identification guidebook. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-227. Ogden, UT:        U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research        Station. 648 p.  [13798]
  • 19.  Hitchcock, C. Leo; Cronquist, Arthur. 1973. Flora of the Pacific        Northwest. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 730 p.  [1168]

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Synonyms

Spiraea lucida (Dougl. ex Greene)

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