Aralia racemosa, Spikenard

Spikenard "shrub" growing at a woodland edge with morning to midday sun.

Spikenard is an herbaceous perennial that grows large enough to confuse it with a woody shrub. There are so few medium size "shrubs" that grow in a woodland understory, that Spikenard should be celebrated and for that matter, more widely planted. It has attractive leaves, white flowers, colorful berries and will grow in part to not-quite-full shade. The only complication is that you must remember it will grow to 4 feet wide and tall! 

Oh, wait, there's one more complication. Aralia racemosa is difficult to find, even at native plant nurseries. Do not give up or mistakenly buy Japanese Aralia cordata, usually sold as the cultivar 'Sun King.' I've got your back at Shelterwood, where I only carry the native Aralia racemosa. I have mature plants ready to take home this growing season!

Blooms: white, July into August

Height: 3 to 4 feet

Conditions: pt shade to mostly shade, if pt sun morning sun is best, moist-medium to medium soils

Spikenard berries come mid-late summer