Resembling Sorbus (they are in the same family Rosaceae), particularly in the attractive pinnate leaves. Flowering in summer or early autumn, with a froth of small white flowers. Normally suckering shrubs, some which have very coloured emerging foliage, S. sorbifolia 'Sem', with all they can benefit from being cut down hard in late winter, to encourage vigorous new shoots.

With clusters of hawthorn-like flowers, Sorbaria attracts a similar range of insect life, from bees to butterflies. Forming dense thickets as it spreads by rhizomes, steps should always be taken to prevent its spread from the confines of gardens: three species are increasingly turning up as escapes in the wild, especially in urban areas.

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