The reddish-brown branches of spiraea splendens
, a small deciduous shrub, tend to hang down so the plant never becomes much more than 2 feet tall. Blooms appear in summer from the ends of the newer branches; rounded, flat-topped clusters of several dozen tiny, dark pink flowers, each with five sepals, five petals and many small stamens, projecting well beyond the corolla. Sepals are spreading or upwards-pointing, not bent back, like the similar spiraea douglasii
. The plant favors moist locations and is found over a wide area of the West, at elevations between 2,000 and 11,000 feet. Leaves are hairless or only slightly hairy, and the same on both surfaces.