Family: Rosaceae
Common Name: Meadowsweet

This small group of perennials is native to northern temperate zones. Cultivated as orna­mentals, some species are used in scented oils, and some have medicinal properties.


F. kamtschatica, zone 3, grows to 2 m (6 ft), with large, lobed leaves and white or pale pink, fragrant flowers.

F. purpurea, zone 6, grows to 1 m (3 ft), with fern-like foliage, red stems and fluffy heads of carmine pink flowers in summer. It is a useful border plant and excel-lent for cutting. The form albiflora has white flowers; 'Elegans' has white flowers with red stamens.

F. rubra, queen of the prairie, zone 2, is a very attractive species, to around 3 m (10 ft), with plumes of peach-pink flowers. Cultivar 'Venusta' is smaller, with deep pink to reddish purple flowers.

F. ulmaria, meadowsweet or queen of the meadows, zone 2, grows to 1 m (3 ft), with fern-like foliage and large heads of feathery, creamish white flowers. Cultivar 'Aurea' has golden yellow leaves; 'Fiore Pleno' has double flowers.

F. vulgaris, dropwort, zone 3, to 1 m (3 ft), has fern-like foliage and white, fragrant flowers. It tolerates slightly drier con­ditions and works well as a border plant. Cultivar 'Multiplex' has double flowers.


These plants like moisture and an open position in the garden, particularly near water. Propagate by division in spring, or from seed sown when ripe in a sandy loam. Most prefer partial shade and need protection from sun at the hottest time of day.


There are species suited to various cli­matic zones. Most are tolerant of very low tem­peratures and are best in cool, moist climates.

Fig      Firmiana