Thanks once again to Wayne Weber@Flickr for contributing a photograph to Botany Photo of the Day. Wayne submitted via the Botany Photo of the Day Flickr Pool (original image), and, since it was photographed in Washington, it aligns nicely with the “Biodiversity of the Pacific Northwest” series. Much appreciated!
Another name for rosy spiraea or rose meadowsweet is subalpine spiraea, giving an indication of its habitat. Found at elevations of 600m-3050m (2000 ft. -10000 ft.), plants of Spiraea splendens are typically found growing in moist soils with full sun to light shade. There seems to be some sort of taxonomic confusion, as most references use Spiraea splendens, but USDA GRIN suggests Spiraea densiflora. Making things more confusing, the latter site also restricts the range to only Oregon, Washington and California, whereas other sites mention Spiraea splendens growing in British Columbia, Alberta, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Nevada, in addition to the those three states.
In Native American Ethnobotany, it is noted that the Blackfoot First Nations used the flowering stems of Spiraea splendens as paintbrushes, “especially on the large spaces of tepees”. Photographs of the flowering stems, as well as other images, are available via the Burke Museum’s page on Spiraea splendens.