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.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Bellingham Herald
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.