Herbs & Plants

Goat’s Bread (Aruncus dioicus)

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Botanical Name : Aruncus dioicus
Family : Rosaceae
Genus : Aruncus
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Rosales
Species: A. dioicus

Synonyms: Aruncus sylvester – Kostel., Aruncus vulgaris – Raf.

Common Name : goat’s beard or bride’s feathers

Habitat :–  This plant can be found throughout Europe, Asia, and eastern and western North America.   Damp woods, shady places and by streams, usually in mountainous areas.Woodland Garden; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Ground Cover; Meadow; Bog Garden;

Perennial growing to 2m by 3m at a fast rate.  It is a herbaceous plant with alternate, pinnately compound leaves, mostly cauline, less than 60 cm, 2 to 3 pinnate; leaflets 3 to 5 cm, ovate, sharply serrate, more or less hairy ,on thin, stiff stems. The flowers are white, borne in summer.

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Tiny brown seed capsules dry and stay on females plants after flowering is finished. Goats beard has foliage similar to astilbe but with a shrub like growth habit.  Aruncus dioicus is an excellent specimen plant in the shade garden or use as a focal point in woodland settings.  Its wands of creamy white flowers are used as fresh cut flowers and dried flowers.  It is an imposing background plant, especially when displayed in an isolated groupings and is listed as deer resistant.  Fruits are more or less cylindric follicle, 3 to 5 mm.

It is hardy to zone 7. It is in flower from June to August. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Insects. The plant is not self-fertile.

The plant prefers light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. The plant prefers acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very acid and very alkaline soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It requires dry moist or wet soil.

Cultivation :-
Succeeds in mst moist soils in sun or partial shade. Plants do well in moist to wet soils but will also tolerate fairly dry sites. Succeeds in acid or limey soils. Grows well on the woodland edge. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn. Plants are hardy to at least -20°c. This is a polymorphic species, especially the form that grows in Japan.  There are some named forms selected for their ornamental value, ‘Kneiffii’ is only half the size of the type species. Plants are fast-growing  and form very large clumps. The flowers are sweetly perfumed.  Dioecious, male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Sow stored seed in late winter or early spring in a cold frame. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in a cold frame until they are at least 15cm tall. They can be planted out into their permanent positions at any time of the year. Division in early spring or autumn. Very easy, the clumps can be planted out direct into their permanent positions.

Edible Uses:-
Edible Parts: Leaves.
Budlings, stems and young leaves – cooked. Some caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Actions & Uses:-
Antipyretic; Astringent; Birthing aid; Salve; Stings; Stomachic; VD.

The poulticed root is applied to bee stings. A tea made from the roots is used to allay bleeding after child birth, to reduce profuse urination and to treat stomach pains, diarrhoea, gonorrhoea, fevers and internal bleeding. The tea is used externally to bathe swollen feet and rheumatic joints. A salve made from the root ashes is rubbed onto sores.

Other Uses:-
Ground cover.

Plants form a dense growth that is very effective at holding invasive plants at bay. They can be used as a tall ground cover for large areas.

Scented Plants
Flowers: Fresh
The flowers are sweetly scented.

Known Hazards : Cyanogenic glycosides are found in the leaves.

Disclaimer:The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.



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