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Gardening in the Rainy Zone.
GOAT'S BEARD, SPAGHETTI FLOWER, BRIDE'S FEATHERS
syn. A. sylvester, Spiraea aruncus
Pronounced: arun-kus dy-oh-EE-kus
Sunset zones:A2, A3; 1-9, 14-17.
USDA zones: 3-7.
Heat zones: 7-1.
Height: 6 feet (2 m).
Width: 4 feet (1.2 m).
May through June.
Tiny, white flowers are densely packed on loose, pyramidal panicles. Male and female flowers are on separate plants (dioecious). The female flowers are more greenish-white.
Leaflets are sharply toothed and normally 3 times compound. Lower leaves are larger than higher leaves.
Full, dappled or partial shade.
Adaptable to most moist soils, but grows best in moist, humus rich conditions.
Sow seed in spring.
Alternatively, sow in autumn and place in cold frame over winter.
Divide perennials in early spring or autumn..
Rainy Side Notes
A graceful, perennial member of the Rose family (Rosaceae), this genus has three species all indigenous to the Northern Hemisphere. Aruncus dioicus grows freely in the western portion of the Pacific Northwest in damp openings in the woods and close to streams and pools.
Many Pacific Northwest Native Americans used aruncus medicinally. The Olympic Peninsula's Klallam tribe made a salve of root ashes to rub on sores. The Quinault and Quileute tribe's people made a poultice from scraped roots to apply to sores. Another Olympic Peninsula tribe, the Makahs, made an infusion from the roots for rheumatism and a dye out of the roots. The Skagit Native Americans used the perennial as an infusion of roots for sore throats, as well as for sores. As a cure for small pox, the Lummi people chewed the leaves. The Kwakiutl from British Columbia soaked the root and held it in the mouth for coughs, and used it as a love charm. The Nitinaht from Vancouver Island, B.C., made an infusion from pounded roots for fevers.
This comely native is a superb perennial in the garden, as a tall astilbe-like plant for the back of the border. The male plants bear creamy white, showier flowers, while the female plants produce a smaller, greenish-white flower. Easy to start from seed; however, if you want plants for seed production, you will need both male and female plants. It self-seeds freely, so deadhead flowers if no seedlings are wanted. Goat's beard spreads from underground runners, albeit slowly so it is not a thug. Include aruncus in your native wildlife garden because it provides nectar for hummingbirds, bees, and butterflies, such as the mourning cloak butterfly.
Photographed in author's garden.