Filipendula is a genus consisting of a dozen flowering plants. The plants are native to warm climates and are therefore found in the northern hemisphere. Some popular species include F. vulgaris, F. ulmaria, and F. rubra, with common names of dropwort, meadowsweet, and queen-of-the-prairie, respectively. In the past, Filipendula was believed to be Spiraea, a genus of woody shrubs mostly found in Asia, but new evidence suggests they are not so closely related. The plants are quite short, reaching a maximum height of 6.5 feet (2 m), and its blooms are colored shades of cream and pink.
Meadowsweet, also known as dollof, pride of the meadow, and meadow-wort, is a perennial herb that grows in damp soil in meadows; hence its name. While it is native to some parts of Asia and Europe, it has been introduced and naturalized to North America. It has many uses, including flavoring beer, wine, and vinegar. Due to its pleasant smell, some people use it to scent their houses. The fresh root is a proven treatment for diarrhea, and the flowers can be made into a soothing tea that can provide comfort to those suffering from colds or flu.
F. rubra is also a medicinal plant, and it is native to the United States. It grows in the eastern parts of the country, where it is warm and moist, often preferring shady areas. This plant is commonly used in ornamental gardens.
Drop-wort, or F. vulgaris, differs from other common species in the genus by preferring dry pastures instead of damp areas. This plant is commonly found in northern Asia and most of Europe. The root of drop-wort can treat kidney ailments and dissolve mucus to relieve respiratory problems.
Most Filipendula plants prefer moist but well-drained soil, but all of them need at least partial shade. Some species, such as meadowsweet, can withstand harsh weather, making it an easy plant to grow outdoors. When grown away from their native habitat, these plants may require fungicide treatment to prevent the development of diseases. Bees are the most important pollinators, though a wide variety of other pollinates help them out. These plants do not contain nectar.
In history, some species of the Filipendula genus have been found in old human and animal burial grounds. The flowers were either buried with the bodies due to their pleasant scent and appearance or spiritual beliefs. During the 16th century, the flowers were often strewn about floors to overcome infections and smells and to provide comfort for those walking on the hard floors. Queen Elizabeth I preferred meadowsweet above all other herbs due to these factors. In Welsh mythology, a magician and a king created a woman using meadowsweet.