Iteaceae is a family of only one genus of trees and shrubs, and of the 27 species in that genus, Itea is the only one found in the U.S. (the vast majority of the others being from east Asia). Virginia Sweetspire, as often known as Itea, is a versatile and lovely shrub which grows to 8 feet (more often to 6 feet), with abundant, deliciously aromatic 3-6″ – long bottlebrush-like flower spikes in early summer. These spikes dangle from slender branches and flower from the base towards the tip. Itea is popular because of those lovely flowers but also because it thrives in sun or shade, and in wet to average soil and is not fussy about pH. And not to be forgotten, the dark green leaves turn stunning shades of maroon to crimson in fall and can last into winter. The seed heads attract songbirds and its growth habit — spreading by root suckers (if allowed to) — provides nesting habitat for birds and cover for critters.