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A shrub 3 to 6 ft high, which suckers freely; stems erect, very pithy, varying from nearly glabrous to downy. Leaves 8 to 12 in. long, composed of thirteen to twenty-five leaflets, which are lanceolate, 2 to 31⁄2 in. long, 1⁄2 to 1 in. wide, sharply and conspicuously double-toothed, green on both sides; usually quite glabrous above and the same beneath. Flowers 1⁄3 in. across, white, produced during July and August in a stiff erect raceme 6 to 10 in. high; flower-stalks downy and glandular; ovaries glabrous or nearly so.
S. sorbifolia, besides being the type of the genus Sorbaria, is the most widely distributed of the species, extending from W. Siberia to the Pacific; how far the typical state extends outside Russia is uncertain, but probably to N. China and Korea. It is also the oldest representative of the genus in gardens, cultivated by Miller in the Chelsea Physic garden in 1759. It is distinguished from its near allies S. aitchisonii and S. tomentosa by its comparatively dwarf, stiff habit, and narrower, stiffer flower-panicles. Grown in rich soil it makes a handsome shrub.
This wide-ranging species was reintroduced to Kew in 1982 from South Korea (B.E. & C. 202). The seed was collected from plants 12-15 ft high.
S. stellipila (Maxim.) Schneid