Spiraea japonica
Common name: 
Japanese Spirea
sp-i-REE-a ja-PON-i-ka
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
  • Deciduous shrub, 4-5 ft (1.2-1.5 m), rigid, erect branches, with infrequent secondary branches.  Leaves alternate, simple, 2-8 cm long, lanceolate to ovate, tip pointed, base narrowed, teeth mostly double serrate, green above and gray-green below, pubescent on veins, petioles to 5 mm.  Blooms in summer.  Flowers are light to deep pink, sometimes white, about 5-9 mm wide, stamens longer than petals, blooms in 30 cm wide, flat clusters (corymbs), in upper most leaf axils.  Fruit (follicles) glabrous, except along suture.
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 4      Native to Japan and China, considered highly variable and has been developed into many garden forms.
  • At one time this species was considered a "small but distinguished clan" but it has been "expanded by botanists to a considerable empire, exercising dominion over several spiraeas hitherto of independent status" (Phillips and Barber, 1981).  Because of this you can expect to find some confusion in the botanical names of some spirea, both in publications and the nursery trade.
  • Some of the more common selections of Spiraea japonica, these may also be offered as selections of Spiraea × bumalda:
    • var. alpina ('Alpina') - mounding, flowers rose colored in small clusters
    • 'Anthony Waterer' - erect, flowers deep pink to reddish, some leaves variegated, white and pink
    • 'Bumalda' - new leaves purplish, flowers white to deep pink
    • 'Coccinea' - derived from 'Anthony Waterer' and similar, deeper red flowers
    • 'Crispa' - leaves twisted and deeply serrated, otherwise similar to 'Anthony Waterer'
    • Dakota Goldcharm® ('Mertyann') - mounding, new shoots bronze, leaves maturing to yellow-green, pink flowers
    • 'Dart's Red' - rounded, upright shoots, deep carmine-red flowers which fade to pink, derived from 'Anthony Waterer'
    • 'Dolchica' - leaves deeply serrated, reflecting 'Crispa', bronze-purple new growth, pink flowers
    • 'Flaming Mound'  - low mounding, red leaves, small, dark pink flowers
    • 'Froebelii' - bushy, flowers deep burgundy, new leaves brownish-red, somewhat similar to 'Anthony Waterer', but no variegation
    • 'Gold Mound' - low mounding, yellow-gold leaves mature to yellow-green, orange-red in fall, pink flowers
    • 'Goldflame' - leaves bronze-red when young, reddish fall color
    • 'Gumball' - rounded, compact, low, pink flowers (regarded as a smaller version of 'Froebelii')
    • Golden Princess® - low mounding, leaves bronze-yellow then yellow, pink flowers
    • Limemound® - mounding, new leaves lemon-yellow with a russet tinge, mature to lime-green, flowers light pink
    • 'Little Princess' - dwarf, leaves light green, flowers rose-crimson to white
    • Magic Carpet™ ('Walbuma') - shorter, but not a ground cover, new leaves orange-red, flowers dark pink
    • 'Neon Flash' - new growth reddish-green changes to dark green, dark red flowers
    • 'Norman' - dwarf, compact, rose-pink flowers
    • 'Shibori' - rounded, flowers pink and white, both colors may occur in the same cluster (usually listed as synonym for 'Shirobana', sometimes given as 'Shiburi')
    • 'Shirobana' - dark green leaves, flowers white, pink and crimson in flat topped clusters


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