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Pale Bridewort

Spiraea alba

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Rosaceae (Rose)
Also in this family:
Acute Leaf-lobed Lady's-mantle, Alpine Cinquefoil, Alpine Lady's-mantle, Ampfield Cotoneaster, Arran Service Tree, Arran Whitebeam, Barren Strawberry, Bastard Agrimony, Bastard Service Tree, Bearberry Cotoneaster, Bird Cherry, Blackthorn, Bloody Whitebeam, Bramble, Bristol Whitebeam, Broad-leaved Whitebeam, Broadtooth Lady's-mantle, Bronze Pirri-pirri-bur, Bullace Plum, Bullate Cotoneaster, Burnet Rose, Catacol Whitebeam, Caucasian Lady's-mantle, Cheddar Whitebeam, Cherry Laurel, Cherry Plum, Chinese Photinia, Cloudberry, Clustered Lady's-mantle, Common Agrimony, Common Hawthorn, Common Lady's-mantle, Common Medlar, Common Ninebark, Common Whitebeam, Crab Apple, Creeping Chinese Bramble, Creeping Cinquefoil, Crimean Lady's-mantle, Cultivated Apple, Cultivated Pear, Cut-leaved Blackberry, Damson, Devon Whitebeam, Dewberry, Diel's Cotoneaster, Dog Rose, Doward Whitebeam, Dropwort, Elm-leaved Bramble, English Whitebeam, Entire-leaved Cotoneaster, False Salmonberry, Field Rose, Firethorn, Fodder Burnet, Fragrant Agrimony, Franchet's Cotoneaster, Garden Lady's-mantle, Garden Strawberry, Giant Meadowsweet, Glaucous Dog Rose, Goatsbeard Spiraea, Gough's Rock Whitebeam, Great Burnet, Greengage Plum, Grey-leaved Whitebeam, Hairless Lady's-mantle, Hairy Lady's-mantle, Hautbois Strawberry, Himalayan Blackberry, Himalayan Cotoneaster, Himalayan Whitebeam, Hoary Cinquefoil, Hollyberry Cotoneaster, Hupeh Rowan, Hybrid Cinquefoil, Hybrid Geum, Irish Whitebeam, Japanese Cherry, Japanese Quince, Japanese Rose, Jew's Mallow, Juneberry, Lancaster Whitebeam, Late Cotoneaster, Least Lady's-mantle, Least Whitebeam, Leigh Woods Whitebeam, Ley's Whitebeam, Liljefor's Whitebeam, Littleleaf Cotoneaster, Llangollen Whitebeam, Llanthony Whitebeam, Lleyn Cotoneaster, Loganberry, Many-flowered Rose, Margaret's Whitebeam, Marsh Cinquefoil, Meadowsweet, Midland Hawthorn, Mougeot's Whitebeam, Mountain Ash, Mountain Avens, Mountain Sibbaldia, Moupin's Cotoneaster, No Parking Whitebeam, Ocean Spray, Orange Whitebeam, Pale Lady's-mantle, Parsley Piert, Pirri-pirri-bur, Plymouth Pear, Portuguese Laurel, Purple-flowered Raspberry, Quince, Raspberry, Rock Cinquefoil, Rock Lady's-mantle, Rock Whitebeam, Round-leaved Dog Rose, Round-leaved Whitebeam, Rum Cherry, Russian Cinquefoil, Salad Burnet, Sargent's Rowan, Scannell's Whitebeam, Service Tree, Sharp-toothed Whitebeam, Sherard's Downy Rose, Shining Lady's-mantle, Ship Rock Whitebeam, Short-styled Rose, Shrubby Cinquefoil, Silver Lady's-mantle, Silverweed, Slender Parsley Piert, Slender-spined Bramble, Small-flowered Sweetbriar, Small-leaved Sweetbriar, Soft Downy Rose, Somerset Whitebeam, Sorbaria, Sour Cherry, Southern Downy Rose, Southern Lady's-mantle, Spineless Acaena, Spring Cinquefoil, St. Lucie's Cherry, Steeplebush, Stern's Cotoneaster, Stirton's Whitebeam, Stone Bramble, Sulphur Cinquefoil, Swedish Service Tree, Swedish Whitebeam, Sweet Briar, Symond's Yat Whitebeam, Tengyueh Cotoneaster, Thimbleberry, Thin-leaved Whitebeam, Tibetan Cotoneaster, Tormentil, Trailing Tormentil, Tree Cotoneaster, Trefoil Cinquefoil, Twin-cliffs Whitebeam, Two-spined Acaena, Wall Cotoneaster, Water Avens, Waterer's Cotoneaster, Waxy Lady's-mantle, Welsh Cotoneaster, Welsh Whitebeam, White Burnet, White's Whitebeam, White-stemmed Bramble, Wild Cherry, Wild Pear, Wild Plum, Wild Service Tree, Wild Strawberry, Willmott's Whitebeam, Willow-leaved Bridewort, Willow-leaved Cotoneaster, Wineberry, Wood Avens, Wye Whitebeam, Yellow-flowered Strawberry
Deciduous shrub
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
2 metres tall
Gardens, grassland, hedgerows, marshes, meadows, roadsides, wasteland, woodland.

White, 5 petals
Clustered white flower spikes (sometimes pink). Pollinated by insects.
Brown pods, persisting after the flowers have perished.
An upright deciduous shrub with leaves which alternate along the stems. The narrow leaves have toothed margins and are glossy and yellowish-green. Yellowish-brown twigs.
The flowers are fragrant.
Other Names:
Meadowsweet, Narrowleaf Meadowsweet, Pipestem, White Meadowsweet, White Spiraea.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Spiraea alba, also known as the white spirea or meadowsweet, is a species of flowering plant in the rose family. It is native to North America, and is found in a variety of habitats, including meadows, forests, and along streams and rivers. The plant is a deciduous shrub with slender, upright stems and green leaves, and it produces clusters of small, white flowers in the summer. The flowers are fragrant and are attractive to pollinators such as bees and butterflies. Spiraea alba is often used in landscaping and garden design, and is prized for its attractive flowers and easy care.


Pale Bridewort (Spiraea alba) is a deciduous shrub that belongs to the Rosaceae family. It is native to the cool temperate regions of Europe and Asia, and is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant in many parts of the world. This shrub is known for its delicate, feathery foliage and its profuse clusters of small, white flowers that bloom in late spring to early summer.

Pale Bridewort is a hardy plant that can grow up to 3 meters tall and 2 meters wide. It has an upright and spreading habit, and its branches are covered in light green leaves that are lance-shaped and finely toothed. In the summer, the leaves turn yellow before dropping, providing an attractive contrast to the pinkish-brown bark of the stems.

The flowers of Pale Bridewort are the main attraction of this plant. They are small, 5-petaled, and arranged in loose, flat-topped clusters that can measure up to 20 centimeters across. The flowers are white or cream-colored and have a delicate, airy appearance that makes them look like tiny, graceful clouds.

In addition to its ornamental value, Pale Bridewort is also a valuable source of nectar for bees, butterflies, and other pollinators. This makes it an important plant for maintaining a healthy ecosystem and promoting biodiversity.

Pale Bridewort is a low-maintenance plant that is easy to grow in most soil types as long as they are well-drained. It prefers full sun or partial shade, and can tolerate a range of temperatures and climates. This plant is also relatively pest-free, although it may be susceptible to powdery mildew in areas with high humidity.

Pale Bridewort is a versatile plant that can be used in a variety of landscape settings. It is well-suited for mixed borders, woodland gardens, and naturalized areas. It can also be grown as a specimen plant, or used as an informal hedge or screen.

When planting Pale Bridewort, it's important to give it enough room to grow, as it can become quite large over time. It is also a good idea to prune the plant after flowering to encourage bushiness and to maintain its shape. Pruning can also be used to remove any dead, damaged, or diseased wood.

In addition to its ornamental qualities, Pale Bridewort has been used for medicinal purposes in some cultures. The plant's leaves, flowers, and roots have been used to treat a variety of ailments, including digestive issues, skin problems, and respiratory issues. However, it's important to note that these remedies have not been scientifically proven, and that the plant should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice.

Finally, Pale Bridewort is also a popular plant for use in bonsai culture. Its delicate foliage and graceful habit make it a suitable choice for creating beautiful, miniature landscapes. Bonsai enthusiasts can prune and train the plant to create a variety of different styles, from formal to informal, and can also enjoy its lovely flowers during the growing season.

One important aspect to consider when growing Pale Bridewort is its effect on native plant species. In some areas, it has escaped cultivation and has become invasive, outcompeting native species and altering natural ecosystems. Therefore, it's important to research the plant's invasive potential in your area before planting it.

Another aspect to consider is the potential for cross-pollination with other Spiraea species in the garden. This could result in hybridization and the loss of genetic diversity in the species. To avoid this, it's best to plant only one species of Spiraea in the garden, or to plant them at a significant distance from each other.

In terms of maintenance, Pale Bridewort is relatively low-maintenance, but it does benefit from occasional fertilization. A balanced fertilizer applied in the spring can help to promote healthy growth and encourage more profuse blooming. In addition, regular watering during periods of drought is important to keep the plant looking its best.

Another consideration is its susceptibility to powdery mildew, a fungal disease that can cause the leaves to become covered in a white, powdery substance. This can be prevented by providing adequate air circulation around the plant, avoiding overhead watering, and using a fungicide if necessary.

In conclusion, while Pale Bridewort is a beautiful and versatile shrub, it is important to consider its impact on native plant species and its potential for hybridization with other Spiraea species. Regular maintenance, including fertilization and disease control, can help to keep this plant looking its best.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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