Synonyms: Other names: birch-leaved spiraea Nomenclature: betulifolia = leaves like birch Nativity / Invasiveness: Montana native plant
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General: shrub, mostly 25-60 cm tall, hairless or almost so, from strong rhizomes.
Leaves: alternate, ovate-oblong or obovate, usually 2-7 cm long, rather coarsely (usually doubly) sharp-toothed toward the tip, to sometimes shallowly small-lobed, dark green on the upper surface, pale on the lower.
Flowers: numerous in dense, flat-topped clusters about 3-8 cm broad. Petals 5, dull white, often with a pale pinkish or lavender tinge, rounded, about 2 mm long, soon falling off. Calyx is hairless externally. Stamens 25-50, projecting. Pistils 5 with slender, terminal styles 1.5-2 mm long.
Fruits: follicles, about 3 mm long, beaked, hairless or sparsely edged with minute hair along the seam, in clusters of 5 per flower, joined at base.
Stream banks and lake shores and open to wooded valleys and hillsides, often in rock slides, foothills to subalpine zone, in w. and c. parts of MT. Also from B.C. and Saskatchewan to SD and WY, and in Asia.
The Okanagan-Colville Indians made a decoction of branches of birch-leaved spiraea and used it for menstrual pains or heavy or prolonged menstruation. They also used a tea of branches taken for poor kidneys, ruptures, colds and abdominal pains. The Shuswap Indians made a decoction of roots and leaves taken for diarrhea and the stomach.
Our specimen belong to var. lucida (Dougl. ex Greene) C.L. Hitchc.
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