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Aruncus dioicus

Common Name(s):
Goat's beard
Herbs, Perennials, Wildflowers

Aruncus dioicus, commonly called goat's beard is a rose family member and is somewhat similar in appearance to astilbe. It is a dioecious plant (separate male and female plants) as the species name suggests. Plants with male flowers (numerous stamens per flower) produce a showier bloom than plants with female flowers (three pistils per flower).  Males and females are separate in Goat's beard, but nurseries typically do not separate the male from female plants.  It grows into a large clump which makes a bold display in a shady garden.  It will spread by rhizomes.

Regions:  Mountain, Piedmont

Seasons of Interest: 

  Blooms:   Spring           Nut/Fruit/Seed:  Late Summer

 Wildlife Value:  This plant is highly resistant to damage from deer and rabbits.  It is the host plant for the Dusky Azure butterfly.

Insects, Diseases, or Other Plant Problems: Goat's beard has some susceptibility to leaf spot.

Late spring to early summer
3-5 ft.
Flower Color:
Creamy white
USDA Hardiness Zone 3-7
Goat's beard is a tall, erect, bushy, clump-forming plant typically growing 4-6' high which features pinnately compound, dark green foliage and two to three times pinnate and large, egg-shaped leaflets.
Large, showy, plume-like spike clusters of small, creamy white flowers which rise well above the foliage in early to mid-summer creating a bold effect. The flowers have five oval-shaped petals, the stamens have long, slender filaments.
Goat's Beard is best grown in moist, fertile, organically rich soils in full sun to part shade. Foliage decline can occur rapidly if soils are permitted to dry out. With consistent moisture, it performs well in full sun in the northern portions of its growing range. It prefers part shade in the southern part of its growing range. Removing faded flower stalks will not prolong bloom, but may improve plant appearance, particularly if a ground cover look is desired. On the other hand, flower stalks on female plants may be left in place to enjoy the continuing ornamental effect of the dried seed plumes. Plants can be slow to establish. Plants may struggle in the hot and humid conditions of the deep South and are not recommended for gardens south of USDA Zone 7.
Seed, division in spring
Partial shade
Moist, rich soil
North America, North Carolina
Life Cycle:
summer, partial shade, spring, wildflower, white, shade, perennial, pollinators, rain garden, butterflies, showy

NCCES plant id: 680

Aruncus dioicus Aruncus dioicus
Aruncus dioicus inflorescence
MiK Watson, CC BY-NC-SA - 2.0
Aruncus dioicus Aruncus dioicus
Kingsbrae Garden, CC BY-NC-SA - 2.0