Goat's beard, or wild spirea, is an enormous and showy perennial that can grow as high as six feet and look like a bush. The handsome compound leaves are deep green and have serrated edges. In early autumn, the plants come into bloom, producing many dramatic plumes composed of tiny, white flowers. The plants bring color to the garden after the usual spring show has passed.
Propagation: By division in the spring or from seed.
Uses: Plant goat's beard in the rear of the border in the light shade of high trees. It grows well by the waterside. The white plumes show best where the plants have a dark, tree-filled background or are in front of a wall or fence.
Related species: Aruncus aethusifolius is a dwarf variety that makes a six- to eight-inch mound of feathery leaves and one-foot spires of white, plumelike blossoms.
Scientific name: Aruncus dioicus