Goatsbeard, Aruncus dioicus, is a North American perennial with feathery plumes of cream colored flowers in late spring or summer. The arching plumes are densely covered with many small florets in 20-inch branched clusters, and resemble a large, airyAstilbe (to which goatsbeard is unrelated). The plants are dioecious (separate male and female plants) and male plants supposedly have showier flowers than female ones. Plants are never identified as one or the other when offered for sale. Aruncus is native to deciduous woodlands of eastern and central US as well as western Europe.
Goatsbeard grows best in moist, rich soil in partial shade, although it will do fine in full sun if given consistent moisture. Amend the soil with generous amounts of organic matter before planting. Space plants 2-4 feet apart, providing plenty of room to accommodate their mature size – once established, transplanting this species is a very difficult task. They tend to grow slowly the first few seasons. The wide-open spaces between young plants can be filled with annuals until the goatsbeard reaches its mature size.