In Bloom: Goat’s Beard

Goat’s Beard. Anne Holmes, artist

Aruncus dioicus is a native shade perennial plant in the Rosaceae or Rose family. Aruncus comes from the Greek word aryngos (goat’s beard) and dioicus from the Latin, meaning having the male reproductive organs on one plant and the female on another. Other common names are buck’s-beard or bride’s feathers.

This showy perennial has fern-like foliage and clusters of tiny, cream-colored flowers that grow on long spikes up to six feet above the leaves. Goat’s Beard will tolerate acidic, clay, loamy or sandy soil and is an excellent choice for a background plant in a border or woodland garden. It is also an ideal choice for a damp, shady spot or a permanently moist area like a bog garden. If planted in a sunny area, make sure you provide plenty of moisture. Another word of caution: this plant demands space.

Native Americans made poultices from the roots of Goat’s Beard to use on sores. Infusions from the roots were used to cure rheumatism, sore throats, fever and blood diseases.

The Botanical Gardens, located at 151 W. T. Weaver Boulevard, is a nonprofit organization housing a collection of plants native to the Southern Appalachian mountains. Admission is free, but donations are appreciated and memberships are encouraged. Visit for memberships, information on what’s blooming, gift shop hours and more.

Upcoming Events at the Botanical Gardens

Ecology and the Southern Appalachian Garden
Sunday, June 10, 9–11:30 a.m. Garden manager Jay Kraynik will examine numerous aspects of ecology to create more dynamic, stable and harmonious gardens. Subjects will include reading the landscape, natural community modeling, creating/utilizing micro-climes and using habitat-specific native plants for year-round interest. It is hoped that these topics will not only demystify native gardening but will also foster a better understanding of the natural world around us. Handouts will be provided. This is an outdoor class. Bring rain jackets/umbrellas if needed.

Book Club in Celebration of Pollinator Month The Secret Life of Flies by Erica McAlister
Thursday, June 21, 4–5:30 p.m. Join BGA staffer Heather Rayburn as she hosts a special Botanical Gardens of Asheville book club in celebration of Pollinator Month. Participants should read Dr. Erica McAlister’s The Secret Life of Flies before the event. Refreshments will be served as we discuss the book, review its highlights and look at some slides about these fascinating insects. This book is available for purchase in the Visitor Center and members get 10 percent off the retail price.

Educational programs are $15 for members. $20 for non-members. Participants must pre-register and pre-pay for classes by calling 828.252.5190.

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