There are approximately 80 - 100 species in the genus Spiraea. The most common in the great lakes region is White Meadowsweet, (Spiraea alba). Most of the varied species share main characteristics, and all have similar medicinal qualities. The advantage of Spiraea over willow or other Salix spp. is that the Methyl Salicylate levels are constant from plant to plant, and species to species.
Roseaceae - Rose Family
2 - 6 feet tall
Alternate leaves (up to 3" long and ¾" across) occur along the young branches of this shrub; they are densely distributed along these branches. The leaves are narrowly ovate, sharply serrated, pinnately veined, and glabrous (rarely sparsely hairy underneath); they have short petioles. The upper side of each leaf is medium green, while its lower side is pale green.
Young branches are green and glabrous, but they become smooth, brown, and woody with age. This plant is sparingly branched.
Mid to late summer
Arranged in torch shaped panicles each white flower is about ¼" across. consisting of 5 white petals, 5 light green sepals, 5 light green pistils, and numerous stamens (20 or more).
Spiraea prefers full sun, poorly drain locations, low areas along streams, edges of marshes, bogs, and ditches
Wild Food Uses:
The following text is meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of any illness or injury.
Spiraea contain Methyl Salicylate, the precursor to modern aspirin. Spiraea does not cause the stomach problems associated with aspirin use. Tea brewed from the Meadowsweet has been used for pain relief, rheumatism, and to alleviate fevers.
Analgesic, Anti-Inflammatory, Antiarthritic, AnaAntirheumaticlgesic, Febrefuge