Shrub with teeny white flowers just starting to bloom

Discussion in 'Plants: Identification' started by wcutler, Feb 9, 2021.

  1. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I paid a lot of attention to this plant, maybe last year, so I think I might have posted it and have now forgotten the name, but I can't find it here or in my photos (searching white, teeny, tiny, or the location). I think previously the tiny white 5-petalled flowers 5mm in diameter attracted me. Lately it has been the very obvious though tiny green dots of buds on the very slender brown branches. I'm sorry I can't get a photo that does justice to the dotted branches, or to its lovely shimmering in the sun, but I was surprised to see that there are a few open leaves and flowers and somehow, they seem to be in focus.
    TeenyWhiteFlowers_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210209_143845.jpg TeenyWhiteFlowers_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210209_143820.jpg TeenyWhiteFlowers_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210209_143938.jpg TeenyWhiteFlowers_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210209_144056.jpg TeenyWhiteFlowers_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210209_144038.jpg
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Spiraea.
     
  3. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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  4. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    The buds are developing on this now. Some of the flower clusters seem to be 7-flowered, but I'm still going with the name Spiraea thunbergii.
    Spiraea-thunbergii_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210305_164332.jpg Spiraea-thunbergii_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210305_164420.jpg Spiraea-thunbergii_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210305_164651.jpg
     
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  5. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I'm still waiting to see what these are going to look like. I thought I'd posted some photos last week, but I guess not. These are from March 23.
    Spiraea-thunbergii_NicolaComox_Cutler_20210323_153526.jpg Spiraea-thunbergii_NicolaComox_Cutler_20210323_153746.jpg Spiraea-thunbergii_NicolaComox_Cutler_20210323_155305.jpg Spiraea-thunbergii_NicolaComox_Cutler_20210323_155315.jpg

    There are only a few more flowers open today. There is such a range of development in the flowers, now I'm wondering if it will ever get all covered with flowers, or do we just get a few at a time. I'm very excited to see. I'm still calling it Spiraea thunbergii.
    Spiraea-thunbergii_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210329_150835.jpg Spiraea-thunbergii_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210329_150634.jpg
     
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  6. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    I don't know who has control over this spirea, but it should be pruned back to lower buds after flowering to ensure more flowers next year and a more dense shrub. It does look a bit neglected. Hope you don't mind me saying Wendy. I still loved the flowers btw.
     
  7. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    It's the current habit that drew me to it and appeals to me! Ha-ha - I hope they don't listen to you. And there are tons of buds; they're just not open yet.
    But nearby on the building side there are other plants with similar leaves, not as far along in flowering. I'm waiting to see if they're the same. They look kind-of rangy.
     
  8. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    These days not many do Wendy.
     
  9. Ron B

    Ron B Paragon of Plants 10 Years

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    Second picture shows they have been selectively cutting low within the framework already.
     
  10. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I almost had a new name for this plant, as the page at Spiraea × arguta | Landscape Plants | Oregon State University says that Spiraea x arguta, which is (possibly) a hybrid of S. multiflora and S. thunbergii, has very long unbranched shoots, with leaves 6-12mm wide. It distinguishes that from S. thunbergii, saying that S. thunbergii has shorter unbranched shoots, and narrower leaves 3-6mm wide. S. × arguta has much longer unbranched shoots than S. thunbergii. It shows two photos that demonstrate this.

    But Spiraea 'Arguta' | bridal wreath/RHS Gardening says " 'Arguta' is a rounded deciduous shrub with slender arching shoots bearing small lance-shaped leaves and clusters of small white flowers on short lateral shoots all along the branches in spring".

    S. thunbergii has glabrous leaves and pedicels (from Spiraea thunbergii in Flora of China @ efloras.org).

    I guess I will go back to calling this shrub1, though I have called it S. x arguta in these photos, which I think demonstrate long unbranching shoots. And no hairs. Another characteristic that distinguishes some Spiraea with small white flowers is that the stamens here, and in the others I will post, are shorter than the petals, and the pistils presumably are even shorter - I can't see any of them.
    SpiraeaXarguta_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210412_144839.jpg SpiraeaXarguta_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210412_144851.jpg SpiraeaXarguta_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210412_144853.jpg SpiraeaXarguta_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210412_144956.jpg

    Here is shrub2, at the same property but up against the building, which on March 23 looked like it also had long unbranching shoots, a similar flower arrangement but more flowers in the bundle - what seemed popular was 9 to 13 buds. I thought it was not as delicate as the first shrub.
    Spiraea-shrub2_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210323_154438.jpg Spiraea-shrub2_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210323_154528.jpg Spiraea-shrub2_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210323_154617.jpg
    But today, April 12, there seems to be a lot of branching going on, and this looks a lot denser. I can see hairs on the leaf margins, which I'm assuming are from the undersides. I think that rules out S. thunbergii. And several of these flower clusters seem to be corymbs, not umbels, or are they corymbed umbels and that still counts as umbels? The number of flowers in the open clusters seems to be around the same as on the first plant.
    Spiraea-shrub2_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210412_145307.jpg Spiraea-shrub2_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210412_145533.jpg Spiraea-shrub2_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210412_145407.jpg Spiraea-shrub2_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210412_145421.jpg Spiraea-shrub2_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210412_145426.jpg

    Shrub3 had no flowers that I could see until today, when I found just a few. This one has some hairs on the leaf surfaces, top and bottom, and I think I see hairs on on the broken pedicel below the left-most flower. I would guess S. prunifolia, but there is no evidence of zig-zag stems.
    Here it was on March 23.
    Spiraea-shrub3_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210323_154911.jpg Spiraea-shrub3_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210323_155005.jpg
    and today. These are the only flowers and if there are more buds, they're not noticeable.
    Spiraea-shrub3_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210412_145545.jpg Spiraea-shrub3_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210412_145555.jpg Spiraea-shrub3_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210412_145616.jpg
     
  11. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I have looked at these again today. I am going back to calling shrub1 its new name of Spiraea x arguta. I'm not finding a lot of details for that, but if it's so easy to confuse with S. thunbergii except for the branching, then presumably most of the other characteristics are similar. I did find that the leaves should be 2-3cm long and 6-12mm wide, and the leaves here are in that range, quite different than for S. thunbergii, in which the leaves are supposed to be up to 4cm long and 3-6mm wide. I see here that these leaves are serrated at the tip end for about 1/3 the length. This plant is essentially glabrous, except for a few hairs on the flower bracts. I checked that with my loupe, which for the first time in months I remembered I had with me. The flowers all seemed to be arranged in umbels.
    SpiraeaXarguta_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210413_154023.jpg SpiraeaXarguta_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210413_154312.jpg SpiraeaXarguta_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210413_154337.jpg SpiraeaXarguta_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210413_154442.jpg SpiraeaXarguta_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210413_154504.jpg

    Shrub2 is pretty much as I described yesterday, except that I think there are not hairs on the upper leaf surface, but lots of hairs on the leaf undersides and on the pedicels. I measured a leaf at 2.2cm long and 9mm wide, and the margin is entire, another reason to rule out S. prunifolia. Some of the flowers are arranged in umbels, but some are definitely in corymbs. I did not recognize much difference between this and shrub3, except that shrub 3 has only three umbels of flowers. Presumably, these are not unusually early ones and the rest of the plant will start budding up later in the year, making it something else entirely.
    Spiraea-shrub2_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210413_154537.jpg Spiraea-shrub2_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210413_154550.jpg Spiraea-shrub2_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210413_154608.jpg Spiraea-shrub2_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210413_155902.jpg Spiraea-shrub2_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210413_154759.jpg
    Spiraea-shrub2_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210413_154717.jpg Spiraea-shrub2_ComoxNicola_Cutler_20210413_154732.jpg
     
  12. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    Here are the last photos I'll post of shrub1 (unless it gets fruits), currently named Spiraea x arguta. I think it's done what it's going to do as far as flowering. There is only one branch offshoot from where the flowers start, and it has flowers.
    SpiraeaXarguta_NicolaComox_Cutler_20210422_145916.jpg SpiraeaXarguta_NicolaComox_Cutler_20210422_150024.jpg SpiraeaXarguta_NicolaComox_Cutler_20210422_150047.jpg SpiraeaXarguta_NicolaComox_Cutler_20210422_150100.jpg

    I think I have found a Spiraea thunbergii. Please someone let me know if this is not right.
    Spiraea-thunbergii_1stCreekside_Cutler_20210420_152658.jpg Spiraea-thunbergii_1stCreekside_Cutler_20210420_152729.jpg Spiraea-thunbergii_1stCreekside_Cutler_20210420_152753.jpg Spiraea-thunbergii_1stCreekside_Cutler_20210420_152830.jpg Spiraea-thunbergii_1stCreekside_Cutler_20210420_152849.jpg

    Here is shrub2. I still haven't found anything with the pubescence of this and leaves with entire margins like these. The leaves are very soft and my hand glides nicely along them. There are a lot of side shoots, but no flowers on them.
    Shrub2_NicolaComox_Cutler_20210422_150222.jpg Shrub2_NicolaComox_Cutler_20210422_150230.jpg Shrub2_NicolaComox_Cutler_20210422_150245.jpg Shrub2_NicolaComox_Cutler_20210422_150315.jpg Shrub2_NicolaComox_Cutler_20210422_150402.jpg
     
  13. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    I did a query on that name and Spiraea × cinerea 'Grefsheim' came up. I thought that might be the plant I can't name, but then I also saw Spiraea × arguta 'Grefsheim'. I wonder if they're synonyms, or is it just wrong that 'Grefsheim' is a cultivar of cinerea. This RHS page says synonyms, which would make everything else in this posting meaningless: Spiraea x cinerea 'Grefsheim' | spirea 'Grefsheim'/RHS Gardening.

    Of course, I can't find a description with the details I need. I did find two photos by Andrey Zharkikh, with the closeup showing leaves the right shape with entire margins. However, the page on which I found Andrey's photo, Spiraea x cinerea 'Grefsheim' (Garland spiraea, Grefsheim Spiraea) | North Carolina Extension Gardener Plant Toolbox (ncsu.edu), says the leaf margin is Doubly Dentate. That's not what the photo shows. The leaf margins in a photo at Spiraea x cinerea 'Grefsheim' plants | Thompson & Morgan (thompson-morgan.com) also seem to be entire.
    The NCSU page says the leaves have no hairs, but the stem surface is pubescent. Really? Hairy stems but no hairs on leaves? It also says the flower inflorescent is a corymb, the only similar plant to say that (instead of umbels) that I've seen so far.

    @Margot, Do the leaves on yours feel silky smooth now from the tiny hairs when you run your hands over a spray of leaves? And are leaf margins entire (no serrations at all)?

    If yes to both, that would make the logic for the ID of my unknown:
    My plant2 has silky leaves with entire margins.
    Andrey's photo shows leaves with entire margins, with the name Spiraea × cinerea 'Grefsheim', taken at Red Butte Garden, Salt Lake City, Utah.
    Margot's plant has silky leaves and entire margins, and she guesses the name is Spiraea × cinerea.
    Therefore the ID of mine is Spiraea × cinerea 'Grefsheim'.
    Hmm, still needs work.
     
  14. wcutler

    wcutler Esteemed Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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