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Any of nearly 100 species of flowering shrubs in the genus Spirea (rose family), native to the northern temperate zone and commonly cultivated for their pleasing growth habit and attractive flower clusters. The most commonly grown, and possibly the most popular of all cultivated shrubs, is the Vanhouttei spirea, also called bridal wreath (a cross between S. cantoniensis and S. trilobata), which grows up to 6 ft (2 m) tall and has graceful arching branches that bear numerous white flowers in spring. Plants that resemble spirea are the shrubby false spireas (Sorbaria species, also rose family) and the perennial herbaceous spireas (Astilbe species, saxifrage family).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on spirea, visit Britannica.com.