The following Participating Institutions are custodians for this species in the CPC National Collection:
The Holden Arboretum
The Arnold Arboretum of Harvard University
The conservation of Spiraea virginiana is fully sponsored.
Irina Kadis contributed to this Plant Profile.
The West Virginia spiraea is an endemic of the southern Appalachians, which occurs exclusively in the southern Blue Ridge and Appalachian Plateau provinces. Within its area, it is found very sporadically. It was first collected by G. R. Vasey in 1878 in the mountains of North Carolina. (Vasey identified it as S. corymbosa Raf.; Britton later annotated those specimens as S. virginiana.) This 2 to 6-ft-tall shrub with arching and upright stems is a prolific sprouter, forming dense clumps. Its leaves are alternate and variable in size, shape, and degree of serration. Cream to greenish-yellow colored flowers occur in branched, flat-topped inflorescences approximately four to eight inches wide.
Distribution & Occurrence
- North Carolina
- West Virginia
S. virginiana can be found on banks of rocky streams or moist bottomlands within high gradient sections of second and third order streams (USFWS 1989, 1990, 1992) However, the sites where the plants occur are areas of deposition after high water flows rather than places of maximum erosion.
The species has root system and vegetative parts that allow it to thrive under appropriate disturbance regimes.
The underground part of the plant is a fine fibrous root mass and heavy lateral rhizomes. These features probably help it survive during floods when larger, heavier arboreal species as well as many vines and herbs are washed away. The belowground portions of S. virginiana left after floods are usually able to regenerate the clone.
|S. virginiana is known from 24 populations from 23 streams in six states (USFWS 1990).|
Conservation, Ecology & Research
Flowers are visited by a variety of insects, particularly beetles (USFWS 1992). This species, however, relies mostly on asexual reproduction (USFWS 1992).
Aphids can be abundant and moved across plant parts by ants; lady bug beetles have been noted to feed on these aphids (USFWS 1992).
Recently (1986-1991), Douglas Ogle from Highlands Community College, Abingdon, VA has contributed to the study of the species. He examined all of the known sites, took samples and photographs, and shared the obtained population information with the Natural Heritage program within each state. He also forwarded the representative material from each live population to the Arnold Arboretum for propagation/conservation under the auspices of Plant Conservation. Through the study of live and herbarium material, he managed to discriminate between S. virginiana and S. betulifolia var. corymbosa and summarized his observation in the comparison table (see notes below).
A. Rehder (1920) described S. virginiana var. serrulata, but in 1949 he reduced the rank to form.
Stine, S.J., Jr. 1993. Inventory for Virginia Spiraea (Spiraea virginiana Britton) in Ohio, Project No. E-2-1, Study No. 204. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.