Plant Data Sheet


Aruncus dioicus (Walt.) Fern. var. acuminatus (Rydb.) Rydb. ex Hara

Goatsbeard/Bride's feathers

There are 5 varieties, 4 native and 1 introduced. Variety acuminatus is the one in the Pacific Northwest.





The west coast variety acuminatus occurs from Alaska southward to northern California. From the Cascades to the coast in Washington and much of Oregon, but east in B.C. to the Selkirk Mountains.


Climate, Elevation (for all varieties)

Submontane to subalpine - Pacific, Cordilleran less frequently, and Atlantic North America.


Local occurrence (where, how common)

Edge habitats - edges of roadsides, forests, and streams at low to middle elevations. Common north to the B.C. coast, rare north of there.


Habitat preferences

Moist shady woods, especially along streams.


Plant strategy type/successional stage (stress tolerator, competitor,

weedy/colonizer, seral, late successional)

Commonly inhabits exposed mineral soil on water-receiving flooded sites. In early seral herbaceous communities near waterways or run-off channels on steep, often shallow and rocky colluvial slopes.


Associated species

No information


May be collected as: (seed, layered, divisions, etc.)

Seeds, salvage, or divide rhizomes.


Collection restrictions or guidelines


This is a dioecious plant, so seeds must be collected from female plants. (Male flowers are much "fluffier".) Professional opinions vary as to when to collect seed - anywhere from July through November. Collect by gently bending flower stalk and shaking seeds into bucket or strip seedheads with fingers into bucket or bag and spread the heads on a newspaper to dry.


Salvage/Rhizome division:

 Salvage seedlings from development sites when plants are young, in early spring, or rhizomes can be divided at this time.


Seed germination (needs dormancy breaking?)

No information indicates that it needs dormancy breaking. Some sources indicate that seeds germinate easily.


Seed life (can be stored, short shelf-life, long shelf-life)

No information


Recommended seed storage conditions

No information


Propagation recommendations (plant seeds, vegetative parts, cuttings, etc.)

Seeds germinate easily. Sow outdoors in fall in damp soil, or hydroseed. Or can grow plants from seed in nursery first, which will form strong roots after one year.


Soil or medium requirements (inoculum necessary?)

Prefers moist, nitrogen-rich soils


Installation form (form, potential for successful outcomes, cost)

Easy to grow from seed or collected seedlings.


Recommended planting density

4-6 feet apart (garden)


Care requirements after installed (water weekly, water once, never water,


Prefers moist soils, woodland setting, or some shade.


Normal rate of growth or spread; lifespan

Female plants will apparently readily reseed themselves and spread fairly rapidly. No information on lifespan.


Sources cited

(* Note - This plant was very difficult to find propagation information on. Many sources were checked but few contained this species in any detail. Most of the information here is from the Native Plant Notebook and the USDA website- which was very scant.)


Hitchcock, C.L., A Cronquist, M. Ownbey, and J.W. Thompson. 1961. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 3: Saxifragaceae to Ericaceae. University of Washington Press, Seattle WA.


Klinka, K., V. J. Krajina, A. Ceska, and A.M. Seagel. 1989. Indicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia. University of B.C. Press, Vancouver, B.C. 288p.


Kruckeberg, A.R. 1982. Gardening with Native Plants. University of Washington, Seattle, WA. 252 p.


The Plants Database. Dave’s Garden, Inc.


Pojar, J. and A. MacKinnon. 1994. Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast: Washington, Oregon British Columbia & Alaska. BC Ministry of Forests and Lone Pine Publishing, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 45 p.


Potash, L.,C. Aubry, B. Busse, W. Hamilton, G. Ketcheson, J. Henderson, and

R. Mace. 1994. Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest Native Plant Notebook., Mt.

Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Mountlake Terrace, Washington.


USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (

 National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.


Data compiled by: Marlo Mytty, 15 May 2003