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Astilbe biternata

Common Name(s):
False goat's beard
Native Plants, Perennials, Wildflowers

A strikingly bold perennial wildflower with tall, white feathery flower plumes, and attractive fern-like leaves in the Saxifragaceae family.  False goat’s-beard is the only Astilbe native to North America and with its height of almost 6 feet it is more stiking than many of its cultivated cousins. Its showy floral display is exceptional and very unusual for a shade plant. It works well as a background plant in perennial planting beds, in woodland or shade gardens and makes for excellent cut flowers.

The flower masses of this southern plant are thought to resemble a goats beard and are similar to those of true Goatsbeard (Aruncus dioicus) which has at least 15 stamens and 3-5 pistils per flower.

Compare this plant to: Astible x arendsiiAruncus dioicus

Companion Plants to provide contrast: Asarum canadense, Carex plantaginea, Heuchera americana

Late spring to early summer
2-6 ft.
Flower Color:
Creamy white feathery pyramidal panicles
Bright green, up to 2-foot, pinnately compound leaves divided into two parts; divided again into three-toothed or lobed, ovate leaflets; terminal leaflet has three lobes
Large, elongated, much-branched, terminal cluster of small, white or yellowish flowers; ten stamens; hairy flower stalk; 4-5 narrow petals. Late spring to early summer.
Mountain woods, shaded, wet soil. Does not need sunlight to flower. Prefers cool climates but will do okay in heat if soil remains moist.
Root division when the plant is dormant
Average to moist, rich, acidic
Ontario and Quebec south to Georgia, west to Mississippi, Arkansas, and Oklahoma, and north to Missouri, Iowa, and Wisconsin
Central Appalachians
Life Cycle:
showy leaves, showy flowers, wet sites, wet soil, woodland plant, shade garden plant, ornamental foliage, cut flowers, wet

NCCES plant id: 2500

Astilbe biternata Flowers
Squamatologist, CC BY-NC-ND - 4.0
Astilbe biternata Astilbe biternata
Greeen Thumb, CC BY-NC - 4.0