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This species is represented in cultivation by the following subspecies:
subsp. obovata (Waldst. & Kit.) H. Huber; S. obovata Waldst. & Kit. ex Willd.; S. hypericifolia var. obovata (Waldst. & Kit.) Maxim. – A bushy shrub, 5 or 6 ft high, with graceful, arching, twiggy branches, which, when young, are brown and usually covered with fine down, becoming grey with age. Leaves obovate, with a tapering base, and about three teeth at the apex, or none at all, 3⁄4 to 11⁄4 in. long, 1⁄4 to 1⁄2 in. wide, of a greyish green, slightly downy beneath, three or five nerves running lengthwise; stalk very short. Flowers pure white, 1⁄4 in. across, produced during early May in clusters from the buds of the previous summer’s shoots; each flower on a usually downy stalk about 3⁄8 in. long.
Native of N. Spain and S. France. At its best it is a pretty shrub, although not in the very first rank of spiraeas; starting later into growth than several other of its white-flowered allies, it escapes the damaging influence of late spring frosts.
The typical subspecies differs from the above in its narrower, oblanceolate leaves, usually acute at the apex and more or less entire, and in having the petals slightly longer than the stamens (about equalling them in subsp. obovata). It is much more widely distributed than subsp. obovata and does not occur in western and central Europe. It is now uncommon in cultivation, but the form of the species grown in 17th and 18th century gardens as ‘Hypericum frutex’ was probably typical S. hypericifolia. It was apparently so called from the resemblance of its leaves to those of the common St John’s Wort, H. perforatum, and was supposed to have come from Canada.
S. hypericifolia is a parent of the hybrids ‘Arguta’ and ‘Grefsheim’.