CPC Plant Profile: Virginia Spiraea
Search / Plant Profile / Spiraea virginiana
Plant Profile

Virginia Spiraea (Spiraea virginiana)

Full shot of this flowering shrub on a river bank. Photo Credit: Copyright Hugh and Carol Nourse
Description
  • Global Rank: N/A
  • Legal Status: N/A
  • Family: Rosaceae
  • State: VA, WV, AL, GA, KY, LA, NC, OH, PA, TN
  • Nature Serve ID: 135631
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/25/1988

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.

Participating Institutions
Updates
  • 10/09/2020
  • Propagation Research

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.

  • 10/09/2020
  • Demographic Research

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).

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Endemic to the southern Appalachians. Although widely occurring in several Appalachian states, the majority of the occurrences are of poor quality and have low viability. Sexual reproduction is rare indicating that genetic variability within and probably between occurrences is low. Little population expansion has been reported, although several occurrences are considered protected (mostly federal and state parks). Restricted to specific riparian habitats and nowhere abundant. Most of the extant populations consist of only a few clumps. Range-wide, fewer than 30 different genotypes are thought to exist. Few mature seeds and no seedlings have been observed. Threatened by alterations in flooding regimes, and clearing or disturbance of streambank vegetation.

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

Overtopping by arboreal species or fast growing herbs or vines may eventually eliminate the species. Competition seems to be the most important variable related to the persistence of S. virginiana and partially explains its occurrence in specific riverin

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

S. virginiana is known from 24 populations from 23 streams in six states (USFWS 1990).

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

Gradually, researchers came to a consensus on how to resolve the large phenotypic variability seen in S. virginiana. Glencoe (1961) was the first one to articulate it. He also included a wider range of localities adding Dade Co. (GA) and Van Buren Co. (TN). As for the locations excluded by Clarkson, he never stated his opinion on those. 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.

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

There is no formal management plan.

Irina Kadis
  • 01/01/2010

In its Recovery Plan, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (1992) outline conservation needs in the following order: preserve, understand, extend knowledge and monitor populations. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will consider delisting when at least three populations are sufficiently protected and stable, when additional population searches have been conducted, when representative genotypes are cultivated in permanent collections.

MORE

Be the first to post an update!

Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Spiraea virginiana
Authority Britton
Family Rosaceae
CPC Number 4076
ITIS 25345
USDA SPVI2
Common Names Virginia spiraea | West Virginia spiraea | Virginia meadowsweet [English]
Associated Scientific Names Spiraea virginiana | Spiraea virginiana var. virginiana | Spiraea virginiana var. serrulata
Distribution S. virginiana is currently known from West Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia (USFWS 1990, 1992).
State Rank
State State Rank
Alabama SNR
Georgia S1
Kentucky S2
Louisiana SNR
North Carolina S2
Ohio S1
Pennsylvania SX
Tennessee S2
Virginia S1
West Virginia S1
Habitat

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.

Ecological Relationships

S. virginiana competes with the invasive species Rosa multiflora and Spiraea japonica, which are both plants that have similar vegetative habits, but are prolific reproducers (USFWS 1992). 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).

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

Donate to CPC to Save this Species

Fall fundraising drive has begun! We're looking for 2,500 people to protect our planet. With you by our side, we will build a future where people live in harmony with nature. Come help and become a CPC donor today.

Donate Today