Beauverd spirea – Spiraea stevenii

Alaska Wildflowers | White

The white corymbiform flowers of Spiraea stevenii, commonly known as Beauverd spirea or Alaska spirea.

Beauverd spirea

Spiraea stevenii

Common Names

Alaska spirea
Beauverd spirea

spirée de Steven
Steven’s meadowsweet
Steven’s spiraea

Synonyms

Spiraea beauverdiana
Spiraea beauverdiana var. stevenii
Spiraea chamaedryfolia var. media

Subspecies

none

Genus: Spiraea
Family: Roasaceae
Order: Rosales
Taxonomic Heirarchy

Duration – Growth Habit

Perennial – Shrub



Identification and Information

Spiraea stevenii, commonly known as Beauverd spirea or Alaska spirea, is a low-growing perennial shrub that grows from a long creeping rhizome. It grows 20-50 cm tall (rarely up to 1 meter). The stems are ascending with thin, wiry, reddish-brown branches. New growth is sometimes hairy. The leaves are ovate to elliptic or narrowly egg-shaped, have a 0.5-6 mm petiole, and are 1.5-6 cm long and 0.5-2.5 cm wide. The leaves are almost entirely toothed with rounded teeth.

The corymbiform inflorescences are primarily terminal. The terminal clusters are flat-topped or rounded and have many 5-petaled, white flowers 4-6 mm in diameter. The flower pedicels are 1-8 mm long. The petals are nearly circular and about 2 mm long, and the sepals are triangular, 1-1.5 mm long. The flowers have numerous long stamens and a superior ovary. The fruits are 2.5-3.5 mm long, beaked, leathery follicles.


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Uses

For information only (typically historical) – I take no responsibility for adverse effects from the use of any plant.

The Yupiit on Nelson Island have traditionally used Beauverd spirea as a fuel, burning the plant for smoking fish. The Tanana use the fresh or dried leaves for making tea.


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Distribution and Habitat

Spiraea stevenii is primarily found in Alaska, the Yukon (barely extending into British Columbia and the Northwest Territories), and eastern Siberia.

It has a diverse habitat, including tundra, open woods, stream banks, alpine areas, meadows, and thickets between sea level and 2000 m elevation.

Classification

RankScientific Name (Common Name)
KingdomPlantae (plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants)
   SubkingdomViridiplantae (green plants)
      InfrakingdomStreptophyta (land plants)
         SuperdivisionEmbryophyta 
            DivisionTracheophyta (vascular plants, tracheophytes)
               SubdivisionSpermatophytina (spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames)
                  ClassMagnoliopsida 
                     SuperorderRosanae 
                        OrderRosales 
                           FamilyRosaceae (roses)
                              GenusSpiraea L.
                                 SpeciesSpiraea stevenii (C.K. Schneid.) Rydb. (beauverd spirea)

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References and Further Reading

Guidebook

Pratt, V. E. (1989). Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers: Commonly Seen Along Highways and Byways (p. 52). Alaskakrafts, inc.

Classification and Taxonomy

Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS). (n.d.). Spiraea stevenii. Retrieved March 23, 2024, from https://www.itis.gov/servlet/SingleRpt/SingleRpt?search_topic=TSN&search_value=505338#null

USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center. (n.d.). Spiraea stevenii. Retrieved March 23, 2024, from https://plants.usda.gov/home/plantProfile?symbol=SPST3

Database of Vascular Plants of Canada (VASCAN). (n.d.). Spiraea stevenii. Retrieved March 23, 2024, from https://data.canadensys.net/vascan/taxon/8984?lang=en

Uses

Native American Ethnobotany Database. (n.d.). Spiraea stevenii. Retrieved March 23, 2024, from http://naeb.brit.org/uses/species/3797/

Map and Distribution

GBIF. (n.d.). Spiraea stevenii. Retrieved March 23, 2024, from https://www.gbif.org/species/3026628

NatureServe Explorer. (n.d.). Spiraea stevenii. Retrieved March 23, 2024, from https://explorer.natureserve.org/Taxon/ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.143296/Spiraea_stevenii

Description and Information

Flora of North America. (n.d.). Spiraea stevenii. Retrieved March 23, 2024, from http://floranorthamerica.org/Spiraea_stevenii

E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia. (n.d.). Spiraea stevenii. Retrieved March 23, 2024, from https://linnet.geog.ubc.ca/Atlas/Atlas.aspx?sciname=Spiraea%20stevenii&redblue=Both&lifeform=4

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