American Spikenard Is Blooming Now

Submitted a year ago
Created by
Henry Homeyer

American spikenard is easy to grow in shady places

In a dark and shady corner of my garden I have a gorgeous 6-foot tall perennial blooming now with hundreds – perhaps thousands – of tiny greenish white flowers. American spikenard (Aralia racemosa) is a native plant beloved by bees and pollinators. It has handsome compound leaves, and many of the leaflets are in the shape of hearts. The leaf stems are dark brown to purplish.

American spikenard is a native wildflower loved by bees

The flowers are arranged in panicles 12 to 18 inches long, and once pollinated, produce numerous berries enjoyed by birds. I have one plant that now has berries, which start out white, go to pink, and will end up deep purple to black when ripe. This plant is in the ginseng family, and I’ve read the roots are sometimes used in making root beer, though I wouldn’t think of pulling up such a lovely plant for such a use.  

These berries will turn deep purple when ripe.

Apparently it will grow in full sun, but I only have it in shade and part shade. My soil is quite rich, but it will grow in most soils, I have read. I bought my plants from Cider Hill Nursery in Windsor, VT. 

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