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Northwest Nature: Goat’s beard features feathery blossoms

Walk along moist woodland trails where there’s a patch of sunlight and you’re likely to come across a patch of goat’s beard ( Aruncus dioicus). When in bloom, it’s easily recognizable with feathery white blossoms dangling gracefully above the foliage.

Goat’s beard reaches 2 to 5 feet in height, with compound leaves that are divided three times, with each leaflet sharply toothed and having pointed tips.

Look closely and you’ll discover that goat’s beard has male (with pollen-producing stamens) and female (with sticky pistils) flowers on separate plants. The clusters of male blossoms look thicker and more robust than the females.

Goat’s beard is widespread in the Northwest. You’ll find it on roadsides as well as along trails. It makes a great addition to your garden, too. Plant it where it will get some sun or bright skylight, but it doesn’t need full-day sun.