E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Spiraea douglasii Hook.
hardhack (Douglas' spirea (ssp. douglasii); Menzies' spirea (ssp. menziesii); pink spirea; rose spirea)
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Jim Riley  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #70127)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Spiraea douglasii
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Species Information

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Low to medium shrub, 0.5-2.5 m tall, from creeping rhizome, often forming thickets; stems erect, much-branched, the slender branchlets usually somewhat woolly, later becoming smooth.
Alternate, deciduous, short-stalked, oblong to egg-shaped, 3-10 cm long, coarsely toothed mostly above the middle, dark green and smooth above, paler and woolly-hairy to smooth beneath.
Inflorescence a branched, narrowly conic to cylindric, dense terminal cluster of numerous small flowers, the cluster several times longer than broad, the branches often woolly; corollas deep to pale pink, the petals 5, egg-shaped to round-elliptic, about 2 mm long; calyces fine-hairy to nearly smooth on the outside, 5-lobed, the lobes triangular, bent back, about 1 mm long; ovaries superior; stamens numerous.
Follicles, usually 5, short-beaked, 2-3 mm long, somewhat leathery, smooth except sometimes a few long hairs along the suture, shining; seeds several, spindle-shaped.
Two subspecies occur in BC:

1. Leaves greyish-woolly beneath; plants of the coast................... ssp. douglasii

1. Leaves smooth to hairy, but not greyish-woolly beneath; plants from throughout southern two-thirds of BC.................. ssp. menziesii (Hook.) Calder & Taylor

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Mid Summer
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present from Summer to Fall
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Fens, swamps, bogs, streambanks, lake margins, and moist to wet thickets and open forests in the lowland and montane zones; common throughout BC, S of about 56oN; S to CA and ID.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Spiraea douglasii

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 676 1700
Slope Gradient (%) 0 4 200
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 202 354
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 5 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BWBS(1), CDF(43), CWH(261), ESSF(29), ICH(211), IDF(14), MH(5), MS(20), SBPS(8), SBS(493)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant, submontane to subalpine, Western North American deciduous shrub distributed more in the Pacific than the Cordilleran region. Occurs in cool mesothermal climates on very moist to wet, nitrogen-medium soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing latitude, elevation, and continentality. Common, occasionally dominant, in semi-terrestrial communities and open-canopy forests on disturbed water-receiving and water-collecting sites. Tolerates fluctuating groundwater tables. Often associated with Gaultheria shallon, Juncus effusus, Myrica gale, or R..spectabilis. Characteristic of wetlands.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is cool mesothermal.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

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General References