Colin Mills, compiler of the Hortus Camdenensis, died in late November 2012 after a short illness. As he always considered the Hortus his legacy, it is his family's intention to keep the site running in perpetuity. It will not, however, be updated in the near future.

Spiraea tomentosa L.

Fully-hardy, small, vigorous, thicket-forming shrub with erect stems, covered in brownish felt when young, coarsely-toothed, ovate leaves, and dense, terminal panicles of purplish-rose flowers in summer. There is also a white form.  To 1.5m.  [RHSD, Hortus, Hilliers’].

Horticultural & Botanical History

‘In swamps and low ground, Nova Scotia to Manitoba, south to Georgia and Kansas.’  [Britton p.245/1896-98].

Introduced to Europe in 1736.  [Don].  Saint-Hilaire Tr. pl.161/1825.

History at Camden Park

Listed in the 1850 and 1857 catalogues [T.934/1850].  One of a number of plants received from Captain Simpson in late 1849 or early 1850, apparently on the same ship as those accompanying Captain P. P. King.  The source is unclear.  [ML A1980-3].


Spiraea tomentosa Raf. (1838) = Spiraea douglassii Hook. which see.

Published Feb 06, 2010 - 04:28 PM | Last updated Feb 06, 2010 - 04:33 PM

Shown are coarsely-toothed, ovate leaves, and dense, terminal panicles of purplish-rose flowers. Saint-Hilaire Tr. pl.161, 1825.

Spiraea tomentosa L. | Saint-Hilaire Tr. pl.161/1825 | BHL

Family Rosaceae
Region of origin

Eastern North America

Common Name

Hardhack, Steeple bush, Silver leaf, White cap, Poor man?s soap

Name in the Camden Park Record

Spiraea tomentosa 

Confidence level high