E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Aruncus dioicus (Walter) Fernald
goatsbeard (bride's feathers; goat's-beard)
Rosaceae (Rose family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Brian Klinkenberg  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #12853)

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Distribution of Aruncus dioicus
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Aruncus dioicus var. acuminatus

Species Information

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Robust perennial herb from stout short-creeping rhizome; stems several, erect to ascending, 1-2 m tall, smooth.
Alternate, 10-60 cm long, long-stalked, the lower leaves usually three times compound, the leaflets egg-shaped to narrowly oblong, sharply double-toothed and pointed, 3-15 cm long, the upper leaves smaller and less compounded; green and usually smooth above, hairy and paler below.
Inflorescence a large, elongated, terminal panicle with numerous spike-like branches of tiny, short-stalked flowers; male and female flowers on separate plants; corollas white, the petals 5, oblong to egg-shaped, about 1 mm long; calyces 5-toothed, the teeth shorter than the petals; ovaries superior; pistils 3 (4 or 5) in female flowers; stamens 15 to 30 in male flowers.
Follicles, bent back, more or less cylindric, somewhat leathery, straw-coloured, smooth, about 3 mm long; seeds 2 to 4 per follicle, about 2 mm long.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Moist to wet ravines, rocky ledges, avalanche tracks, streambanks, forest edges and openings in the low land and montane zones; common in BC south of 55degreeN, rare northward; circumboreal, N to AK and S to CA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Additional Notes

A strong but graceful plant with tall, creamy plumes that liven up any woodland garden with height and presence. Quite long-flowering in moist spots.

Note Author: Gary Lewis, Phoenix Perennials


Ecological Framework for Aruncus dioicus

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 769 2750
Slope Gradient (%) 0 22 145
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 9 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 4 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(1), BWBS(3), CWH(231), ESSF(141), ICH(203), IDF(4), MH(5), MS(13), SBPS(1), SBS(190), SWB(1)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to subalpine, circumpolar forb distributed in the Pacific, Cordilleran (less frequently), and Atlantic North America. Occurs on fresh to very moist, nitrogen-rich soils within boreal, cool temperate, and cool mesothermal climates. Commonly inhabits exposed mineral soil on water-receiving flooded sites. Scattered in early­seral herbaceous communities in the proximity of intermittent or permanent waterways and run-off channels on steep, often shallow and rocky, colluvial slopes; less frequent in open­canopy, steep-gradient, stream­edge forests. A nitrophytic species characteristic of Moder and Mull humus forms

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Aruncus sylvester
Aruncus sylvester var. vulgaris

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References