Habit: dense, well-shaped mound of large emerald green leaves. The intricately cut leaves have many toothed leaflets, with larger lower leaves and smaller upper leaves. Goatsbeard has plumes of creamy-white, feathery flowers in June and July that rise 6-12 inches (15-30cm) above the foliage. Each arching stem that rises above the foliage is densely covered with minute florets on an elongated 6-24 inch (15-61cm) terminal spike. There are male and female plants with the male form having flowers that are more feathery and upright than the female, which tend to droop. The female plants produce a smaller, greenish-white flower and tiny brown seed capsules. It spreads by short creeping rhizomes.
Ecology: moist woods, shady roadsides and along streambanks at low to mid elevations from Alaska south to California.
Growing Conditions: part to full shade or dappled light and consistent moist soil. Aruncus dioicus will survive periods of drought, but the foliage will brown around the edges at the first sign of deprivation.