PNW Landscape Plant Guide

brought to you by the plant geeks at Calendula Farm

Goat’s Beard (Aruncus dioicus)

Do you like dramatic and floofy plants? If you answered yes, then here’s your ticket to the show. Aruncus dioicus is native to parts of the northern hemisphere with species endemic in the Pacific Northwest from southern Alaska to northern California and east of the Mississippi near the Atlantic coast. It sets up performance spaces in open woodlands and at the edges of forests, especially near sources of water. It attracts a wide range of winged audiences including native bees, hoverflies, butterflies, and moths. A v.i.p. In the audience is the Dusky Azure moth who use it as a host plant for its caterpillar. Aruncus has also historically been used by humans to treat digestive & skin problems, and halitosis.

Goat’s Beard is a perennial growing to around five feet tall, sometimes staying around three feet. It wakes up in early spring and quickly unfurls many pinnately leaved stems to form a lush, bushy clump of airy foliage. From late spring to mid-summer, creamy white feathery plumes that look like ostrich tails shoot above the greenery and wave in gentle summer breezes. It will spread into a small colony of itself but is easy to control if the patch starts taking up too much space.

It prefers more shade than the sun but will tolerate more sun if it also gets consistent watering. In an urban setting, Goat’s Beard looks best as a backdrop for the rest of the garden. Use it to define the space.

Open 10-5 Tuesday-Sunday.