Hardhack’s standout feature is its long clusters of fuzzy-looking flowers that are pink to deep rose in color.
Also known as Douglas meadowsweet, western spiraea and hardhack spiraea, this shrub grows quickly to heights of 2 feet to 6 feet. The flowers bloom beginning in June.
Hardhack’s leaves are green and shiny on top, grayish and fuzzy underneath.
The shrub can grow into dense thickets that black-tail deer like to nibble.
Native people of the Pacific Northwest coast also found some use for hardhack.
The Nuu-chah-nulth people used the twigs to make a broom-like tool to collect dentalia shells, which were used as currency among the region’s coastal people.
Sources: Local naturalist Rae Edwards; “Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast,” by Jim Pojar and Andy MacKinnon; National Wildlife Federation’s eNature.com; “Wildflowers of the Pacific Northwest,” by Mark Turner and Phyllis Gustafson; Lora L. Esser writing for U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Fire Effects Information System.