Thursday, June 6, 2019

Plants in Early American Gardens - Bridal Wreath Spirea

Bare Root Bridal Wreath Spirea (Spiraea prunifolia)

This especially floriferous Spirea, introduced from its native China by plant hunter Robert Fortune in 1844, has long been admired for its profusion of double white flowers borne on bare branches in early spring. Its Chinese name means “Smile-laugh-flowers.” Imported to America soon after its arrival in the West, Spiraea prunifolia was praised by James Wilson of Albany, NY, in a letter to “The Horticulturist” magazine in 1849: “This charming shrub needs only to be seen, to be admired. No lover of flowers ought to be without it.” By 1870 it was considered “One of the most common and most beautiful” of spireas (Frank Scott, The Art of Beautifying Suburban Home Grounds of Small Extent).

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