Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center - The University of Texas at Austin information

 Native Plant Database

Aruncus dioicus

Bride's feathers, Goat's beard

Rosaceae (Rose Family)

Aruncus dioicus (Bride's feathers)
Weyand, Phyllis
Bride’s-feathers or goat’ beard is an imposing perennial, 3-5 ft tall. The stems bear several twice- or thrice-pinnately compound leaves, the segments prominently toothed. The large, feathery clusters of small, white flowers are reminiscent of astilbes. Male and female flowers are borne on separate plants, the staminate being more attractive.

Aruncus, from the Greek aryngos (goat’s beard), refers to the showy, finger-like flower clusters, which form feathery masses of all male or all female flowers. The species occurs around the Northern Hemisphere. The western plants once comprised a separate species, known as A. sylvester, among other names. Classification is still unsettled; some botanists consider western plants to be the variety pubescens, others consider them to be the variety acuminatus. The very similar False Goatsbeard (Astilbe biternata), of the saxifrage family (Saxifragaceae), has a lobed terminal leaflet on each leaf and two pistils.

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Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Root Type: Tap
Leaf Margin: Dentate
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Dioecious
Flower: Flower clusters 6 to 24 inches long.
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White
Bloom Time: May , Jun
Bloom Notes: Male plants have showier flowers.


USA: AL , AK , AR , CA , GA , IL , IN , IA , KY , ME , MD , MA , MI , MS , MO , NJ , NY , NC , OH , OK , OR , PA , SC , TN , VA , WA , WV , DC
Canada: AB , BC
Native Distribution: PA and IA, south to NC, AL, & AR
Native Habitat: Damp, fertile woods, mountainous areas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium , High
Light Requirement: Sun , Part Shade , Shade
Soil Moisture: Wet , Moist
Soil pH: Acidic (pH<6.8)
Soil Description: Average to acid, mesic to moist soil.
Conditions Comments: Tolerates seasonal flooding. Needs a lot of space.


Use Ornamental: Good for large-scale displays of white blooms in spring and summer, such as massed in a drift down a slope.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes
Attracts: Butterflies
Larval Host: Dusky Azure

Butterflies and Moths of North America (BAMONA)

Aruncus dioicus is a larval host and/or nectar source for:
Dusky Azure
(Celastrina nigra)

Larval Host
Learn more at BAMONA

Last Update: 2013-09-09