The Nonindigenous Occurrences section of the NAS species profiles has a new structure. The section is now dynamically updated from the NAS database to ensure that it contains the most current and accurate information. Occurrences are summarized in Table 1, alphabetically by state, with years of earliest and most recent observations, and the tally and names of drainages where the species was observed. The table contains hyperlinks to collections tables of specimens based on the states, years, and drainages selected. References to specimens that were not obtained through sighting reports and personal communications are found through the hyperlink in the Table 1 caption or through the individual specimens linked in the collections tables.

Filipendula ulmaria
Filipendula ulmaria
(Queen of the meadow)

Copyright Info
Filipendula ulmaria (L.) Maxim.

Common name: Queen of the meadow

Synonyms and Other Names: Spiraea ulmaria, Ulmaria pentapetala, meadowsweet, meadwort, pride of the meadow, meadow-wort, meadow queen, lady of the meadow, dollof, meadsweet, and bridewort (WFO 2022).

Taxonomy: available through www.itis.govITIS logo

Identification: The species is an herbaceous perennial. F. ulmaria possesses rhizomal rootstalks capable of producing the shoot and roots of a new plant. Its stem is woody at its base and its  leaves are pinnately compound, dark green in color, with 5 pairs of leaflets, coarsely toothed and deeply veined. Leaves are hairy and whitish on the undersides. Leaflets occur on stems between leaves. The flowers are showy and fragrant. Branching panicles or cymes (erect clusters) of small, white­cream colored flowers. Individual flowers have 5 petals and numerous stamens, giving the flowers a "fuzzy" appearance.  Its seeds are spherical, irregular and twisting achene. They resemble cultivated garden Nasturtium seeds (MISIN 2022).

Size: 1-2m in height (Missouri Botanical Garden 2022)

Native Range: The species is native to Europe and western Asia (Flora of North America 2022, USDA 2022).

Hydrologic Unit Codes (HUCs) Explained
Interactive maps: Point Distribution Maps

Nonindigenous Occurrences: Filipendula ulmaria is cultivated as an ornamental and sometimes escapes. Since its initial introduction to North America, it is now found in all Great Lakes states, all New England states except Rhode Island, Colorado, West Virginia, and eastern Canada (Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States 2022, USDA 2022).

Table 1. States with nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Filipendula ulmaria are found here.

StateFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
CO199420081St. Vrain
CT189519754Housatonic; Outlet Connecticut River; Quinnipiac; Saugatuck
IL199120071Des Plaines
IN192319231St. Joseph
ME192319662Lower Kennebec River; Maine Coastal
MA191219473Cape Cod; Farmington River; Middle Hudson
MI200420042Great Lakes Region; Raisin
MN194220215Beaver-Lester; Cloquet; Lake Superior; Little Fork; St. Louis
NY191619352Chemung; Seneca
PA1899200712French; Kiskiminetas; Lower Allegheny; Lower Monongahela; Middle Allegheny-Tionesta; Pine; Raystown; Upper Allegheny; Upper Genesee; Upper Ohio; Upper Susquehanna-Lackawanna; Upper Susquehanna-Tunkhannock
VT193719803Mettawee River; Otter Creek; Winooski River
WV193919391Upper Monongahela
WI199520214Beartrap-Nemadji; Black; Jump; South Fork Flambeau

Table last updated 6/25/2024

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Often the dominant plant in the habitats it occupies, F. ulmaria is a resilient plant able to adapt to a variety of ecological conditions. Found in bogs, marshes, swamps, fens, dunes, roadside ditches, and along riverbanks, the species requires saturated soils. The species is frost tolerant but not salinity tolerant (Hanslin and Eggen 2005, Wisconsin DNR 2011). The species tolerates a variety of soil types ranging from sandy to clay soils and prefers alkaline soils (Wisconsin DNR 2011).   Filipendula ulmaria dominates the vegetation below the line of winter flooding and is a relatively anoxia-tolerant plant due to the capacity of its underground rhizomes to withstand prolonged oxygen deprivation (Barclay & Crawford 1982; Braendle & Crawford 1987). Rhizomes of this species can be kept in an anaerobic incubator for over 2 weeks and will resume shoot growth when planted with access to oxygen(Studerehrensberger, K., et al. 1993).  Filipendula ulmaria, however, is not capable of shoot extension under experimental anoxia and endures oxygen deprivation in a quiescent state therefore total inundation can impede growth (Barclay & Crawford 1982 Braendle & Crawford 1987, Johansson and Nilsson 2002). F. ulmaria reproduces both sexually and asexually via rhizomes.

In Falinska (1995), stages of clonal colony growth were identified. Colony establishment occurs for two or three growing seasons during which time the leaf rosette and the root system develop. During the subsequent growing seasons, 10-20% of plants produce one or two flowering shoots. Buried  seeds may remain viable for up to a year if in soil that is not waterlogged, however viability in a group of seeds is reduced to 10% or lower after two years (Bekker et al. 1998). The addition of phosphorus into soil appears to have a positive effect on germination rates (Bekker et al. 1998).

F. ulmaria has three known natural enemies. The rust pathogen Triphragmium ulmariae targets the petioles of F. ulmaria and causes mortality, primarily in seedlings. The other two are leaf beetles, Altica engstroemi J. Sahlberg and Galerucella. tenella (L.) (Wisconsin DNR 2011). These species are native to Eurasia. While consumed by herbivores such as moose and deer, those species do not show a preference for F. ulmaria (Axelsson and Stenberg 2014, Missouri Botanical Garden 2022).

Means of Introduction: Filipendula ulmaria seeds and live plants are available for purchase online and at plant nurseries (Stanton et al. 2010). Introduction of the species is likely to come through escape from recreational culture or hitch-hiking.

Impact of Introduction:
Summary of species impacts derived from literature review. Click on an icon to find out more...


The species is able to outcompete species for habitat, nutrients, and light, often becoming the dominant species in fen, marsh, and wet-soil meadow ecosystems. In Axelsson and Stenberg (2014), native fireweed had lower flowering rates, growth rates, branching patterns, and survival rates inside of meadowsweet patches compared to outside of meadowsweet patches regardless of the presence of herbivores. The same study also found evidence of F. ulmaria altering predator-prey relationships between fireweed and moose. F. ulmaria conferred associational resistance to fireweed plants in close proximity to F. ulmaria patches, reducing herbivory by moose (Axelsson and Stenberg 2014). F. ulmaria is also a vector of two invertebrate species,  Altica engstroemi J. Sahlberg and Galerucella tenella (L.) that feed upon strawberry plants (Stenberg and Axelsson, 2008). Introduction of live plants from Europe could release those species into novel ecosystems. 

Pollinators show preference to F. ulmaria flowers (Hawkins et al. 2015). The plant also functions as an important microhabitat.  Insect communities in F. ulmaria plants numbered 26 unique species employing a variety of life history strategies (Dreyer and Kirsch 1987). The species also assists in reducing nutrient loads. When placed in buffer strips surrounding agricultural fields, the presence of F. ulmaria aided the uptake of phosphorus and nitrogen (Kuusemets et al. 2001).

References: (click for full references)

Axelsson, E. P. and J. A. Stenberg. 2014. "Associational resistance mediates interacting effects of herbivores and competitors on fireweed performance". Basic and Applied Ecology. 15(1): 10-17. doi: 10.1016/j.baae.2013.12.003.

Barclay, A.M. and R.M.M. Crawford. 1982. Plant growth and survival under strict anaerobiosis. Journal of Experimental Botany. 33, 541-549. doi: 10.1093/jxb/33.3.541.

Bekker, R. M.,  I. C. Knevel, J. B. R. Tallowin, E. M. L. Troost and J. P. Bakker. 1998. "Soil nutrient input effects on seed longevity: a burial experiment with fen-meadow species". Functional Ecology. 12(4): 673-682. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2435.1998.00238.x.

Bespalov, V.G., V. A. Alexandrov, A. L. Semenov, G. I. Vysochina, V. A. Kostikova and D. A. Baranenko. 2018. "The inhibitory effect of Filipendula ulmaria (L.) Maxim. on colorectal carcinogenesis induced in rats by methylnitrosourea". Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 227: 1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2018.08.013.

Braendle, R. and R.M.M. Crawford. 1987. Rhizome anoxia tolerance and habitat specialisation in wetland plants. Plant Life in Aquatic and Amphibious Habitats.397-410. Blackwell Scientific Publications, Oxford. doi: 10.7892/boris.119128.

Burdon, J. J., L. Ericson and W. J. Muller. 1995. "Temporal and spatial changes in a metapopulation of the rust pathogen Triphragmium ulmariae and its host, Filipendula ulmaria". Journal of Ecology. 83(6): 979-989. doi: 10.2307/2261179.

Cherednichenko, O. and V. Borodulina. 2018. "Biodiversity of herbaceous vegetation in abandoned and managed sites under protection regime: a case study in the Central Forest Reserve, NW Russia". Hacquetia. 17(1): 35-59. doi: 10.1515/hacq-2017-0015.

Dreyer, W. and N. Kirsch. 1987. "The Insect Community of the Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria)". ZOOLOGISCHER ANZEIGER. 218(1-2): 49-64. doi:

Falinska, K.. 1995. "Genet Disintegration in Filipendula Ulmaria: Consequences for Population Dynamics and Vegetation Succession". The Journal of Ecology. 83(1): 9. doi: 10.2307/2261146.

Flora of North America. 2022. Filipendula ulmaria. Edited 11/5/2020. http://floranorthamerica.org/Filipendula_ulmaria.

French, K. E., J. Harvey and J. S. O. McCullagh. 2018. "Targeted and Untargeted Metabolic Profiling of Wild Grassland Plants identifies Antibiotic and Anthelmintic Compounds Targeting Pathogen Physiology, Metabolism and Reproduction". Nature-Scientific Reports. 8. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-20091-z.

GLANSIS. 2022. Species Level Risk Assessment Explorer: Filipendula ulmaria. Edited 2/12/2020. https://www.glerl.noaa.gov/glansis/raT2Explorer.html.

Hanslin H. M. and T. Eggen. 2005. "Salinity tolerance during germination of seashore halophytes and salt-tolerant grass cultivars". Seed Science Research. 15(1): 8. doi:10.1079/SSR2004196.

Hawkins, J., N. de Vere, A. Griffith, C. R. Ford, J. Allainguillaume, M. J. Hegarty, L. Baillie, and B. Adams-Groom. 2015. "Using DNA Metabarcoding to Identify the Floral Composition of Honey: A New Tool for Investigating Honey Bee Foraging Preferences". PLOS ONE. 10(8): doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0134735.

Kolos, A. and P. Banaszuk. 2021. "How to remove expansive perennial species from sedge-dominated wetlands: results of a long-term experiment in lowland river valleys". RENDICONTI LINCEI-SCIENZE FISICHE E NATURALI. 32(4): 881-897. doi: 10.1007/s12210-021-01030-z.

Kuusemets, V., U. Mander, K. Lohmus and M. Ivask. 2001. "Nitrogen and phosphorus variation in shallow groundwater and assimilation in plants in complex riparian buffer zones". Water Science and Technology. 44(11-12): 615-622. doi: 10.2166/wst.2001.0888.

Johansson, M. E. and C. Nilsson. 2002. "Responses of riparian plants to flooding in free-flowing and regulated boreal rivers: an experimental study". Journal of Applied Ecology. 39(6): 971-986. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2664.2002.00770.x.

Invasive Plant Atlas of the United States. 2022. Queen-of-the-meadow. Filipendula ulmaria (L.) Maxim. Edited 10/1/2018. https://www.invasiveplantatlas.org/subject.html?sub=14017.

Lima, M. J., D. Sousa, R. T. Lima, A. M. Carvalho, I. C. F. R. Ferreira and M. H. Vasconcelos. 2014. "Flower extracts of Filipendula ulmaria (L.) Maxim inhibit the proliferation of the NCI-H460 tumour cell line". Industrial Crops and Products. 59: 149-153. doi: 10.1016/j.indcrop.2014.05.009.

R. H. Marrs, C. T. W., A.J. Frost and R.A. Plant. 1989. "Assessment of the effects of herbicide spray drift on a range of plant species of conservation interest". Environmental Pollution. 59(1): 16. doi: 10.1016/0269-7491(89)90022-5.

Midwest Invasive Species Information Network (MISIN). 2022. Queen of the Meadow (Filipendula ulmaria). http://www.misin.msu.edu/facts/detail/?project=misin&id=299&cname=Queen%20of%20the%20meadow#databases.

Missouri Botanical Garden. 2022. Filipendula ulmaria 'Aurea’. http://www.missouribotanicalgarden.org/PlantFinder/PlantFinderDetails.aspx?taxonid=245747&isprofile=1&gen=Filipendula#AllImages.

Nazrul-Islam, A. K. M.. 1983. "Tissue Water Relations in a Range of Plant Species and its Ecological Significance". Flora. 174(3): 329-337. doi: 10.1016/S0367-2530(17)31389-0.

Neagu, E., G. Paun, C. Albu and G.-L. Radu. 2015. "Assessment of acetylcholinesterase and tyrosinase inhibitory and antioxidant activity of Alchemilla vulgaris and Filipendula ulmaria extracts". Journal of the Taiwan Institute of Chemical Engineers. 52: 1-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jtice.2015.01.026.

Pauli, D., M. Peintinger and B. Schmid. 2002. "Nutrient enrichment in calcareous fens: effects on plant species and community structure". Basic and Applied Ecology. 3(3): 255-266. doi: 10.1078/1439-1791-00096.

Russo, L., Y. M. Buckley, H. Hamilton, M. Kavanagh and J. C. Stout. (2020). "Low concentrations of fertilizer and herbicide alter plant growth and interactions with flower-visiting insects." Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment. 304. doi: 10.1016/j.agee.2020.107141.

Stanton, K. M., S. S. Weeks, M. N. Dana and M. V. Mickelbart. 2010. "Pruning of Meadowsweet and Steeplebush." HortTechnology. 20(4): 700-704. doi: 10.21273/HORTTECH.20.4.700.

Stenberg, J. A. and E. P. Axelsson. 2008. "Host race formation in the meadowsweet and strawberry feeding leaf beetle Galerucella tenella". Basic and Applied Ecology. 9(5): 560-567. doi: 10.1016/j.baae.2007.10.007.

Studerehrensberger, K.,C. Studer and R. M. M. Crawford. 1993. "Competition at Community Boundaries - Mechanisms of Vegetation Structure in a Dune-Slack Complex”.  Functional Ecology. 7(2): 156-168. doi: 10.2307/2389882.

USDA, Agricultural Research Service, National Plant Germplasm System. 2022. Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN Taxonomy). National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland.
URL: http://npgsweb.ars-grin.gov/gringlobal/taxon/taxonomydetail?id=17105. Accessed 13 June 2022.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. 2011. Literature Review: Filipendula ulmaria. Edited 12/11/2011. https://dnr.wisconsin.gov/sites/default/files/topic/Invasives/LR_Filipendula_ulmaria.pdf.

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. 2022. Queen of the meadow - Bark Bay. https://dnr.wi.gov/lakes/invasives/AISDetail.aspx?roiseq=280441370.

WFO. 2022: Filipendula denudata (J.Presl & C.Presl) Fritsch. http://www.worldfloraonline.org/taxon/wfo-0001012772. Accessed on: 27 Jun 2022.

Author: Pfingsten, I.A. and D. Rose

Revision Date: 1/16/2024

Citation Information:
Pfingsten, I.A. and D. Rose, 2024, Filipendula ulmaria (L.) Maxim.: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, https://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheet.aspx?speciesID=3810, Revision Date: 1/16/2024, Access Date: 6/25/2024

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.


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Citation information: U.S. Geological Survey. [2024]. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Gainesville, Florida. Accessed [6/25/2024].

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