December 13, 2017

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Aruncus dioicus - Goat's beard

Mark Uchneat Photo | Aruncus dioicus – Goat’s beard

Walk by a stand of Aruncus dioicus and the creamy plumes of flowers atop delicate leaves makes you feel like you might be floating by. This native American plant can easily top 6 feet in height with an equally impressive spread for an established plant, making it an ideal background selection to provide a solid color palette for shorter plants. A member of the rose family, the plant has plumes that are similar to those of astilbe and just as impressive. A. dioicus is more commonly called goat’s beard, which is wildly opposite of its other common name: bride’s feathers. It is an easy one to grow. Hardy to Zone 4, goat’s beard can thrive in average soil, tolerates a wet but well-drained location and does great in full sun or partial shade. And a surprising fact for this one: In Italy, young shoots are boiled and then cooked with eggs and cheese. And in one Italian region, it is part of a collection of wild greens used in ‘pistic,’ a local soup. It’s always good to know when you can eat the shrubbery.