Aralia racemosa, Spikenard


Spikenard "shrub" growing at the woodland edge with morning and 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 is there in early spring and 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. But do not give up or mistakenly buy Japanese Aralia cordata, usually sold as the cultivar 'Sun King.' We've got your back at Shelterwood, where we only carry Aralia racemosa. We are beginning to grow out our Aralia stock this spring and hope to have plants mature enough to take home this growing season! Email us if interested.

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, resembling elderberries, come mid-late summer