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Aralia racemosa (American spikenard)
Bruso, George H.

Aralia racemosa

Aralia racemosa L.

American Spikenard

Araliaceae (Ginseng Family)


USDA Symbol: arra

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), CAN (N)

The large, tapered flower clusters of this 2-6 ft. perennial are made up of many tiny white flowers, each with a tinge of yellow or green. They grow upright above large compound foliage on heavy, leafy stems. Purple-red berries are showy in fall. Spikenard lacks spines and has numerous flower umbels in large clusters.


From the Image Gallery

9 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Herb
Root Type: Tap
Leaf Shape: Ovate
Leaf Apex: Acuminate
Leaf Base: Oblique
Fruit Type: Berry
Size Notes: Up to about 6 feet tall.
Fruit: Purple

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: White , Green
Bloom Time: Jun , Jul , Aug


USA: AL , AR , AZ , CO , CT , DC , DE , GA , IA , IL , IN , KS , KY , MA , MD , ME , MI , MN , MO , MS , NC , NE , NH , NJ , NM , NY , OH , PA , RI , SC , SD , TN , TX , UT , VA , VT , WI , WV
Canada: NB , NS , PE , QC
Native Distribution: N.B. to Man., s. to GA, n. AR & n.e. KS
Native Habitat: Woodland

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Medium
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Moist
Soil Description: Moist, rich soil.


Conspicuous Flowers: yes


Description: Divide old rootstocks when the plants go dormant in the fall. Plants may be slow to bloom after being disturbed. Propagation may be possible by seed.
Seed Collection: Seeds can be recovered fro the fruit by maceration and flotation.
Seed Treatment: Seeds may require cool-moist stratification.
Commercially Avail: yes

National Wetland Indicator Status

This information is derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers National Wetland Plant List, Version 3.1 (Lichvar, R.W. 2013. The National Wetland Plant List: 2013 wetland ratings. Phytoneuron 2013-49: 1-241). Click here for map of regions.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Natural Biodiversity - Johnstown, PA
Mt. Cuba Center - Hockessin, DE

Web Reference

Webref 26 - Minnesota Wildflowers: a field guide to the flora of Minnesota (2009)
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Aralia racemosa in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Aralia racemosa in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Aralia racemosa


Record Modified: 2022-11-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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