Looking aruncular


My friend Sally calls aruncus (goatsbeard) “poor woman’s shrub” and you can see why here–in a lovely garden behind the Lake Placid public library.

Looking aruncular

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at yahoo.com


  1. I’m a little slow on the uptake; why “poor woman’s shrub”–because it spreads rapidly? I’m not familiar with this plant. I think it looks cool.

  2. They’re native here in the Pacific northwest. They’re adapted to our summer drought. They do most of their growth in the spring when we have plenty of rain. They only run rampant if you give them water in the summer.

  3. They don’t just spread pleasingly, they seed themselves in my yard. I’m not complaining. The only thing better than one aruncus is 40.

  4. I like the title ‘poor woman’s shrub’. As we get older our gardens need more space loving shrubs, and this plant will not come with great cost, but lots of interest.

  5. I purchased two a few years ago at a local Audubon native plant center; tiny plants and only a couple of bucks each.
    They grow to 5′ tall and 3′ wide every spring and make a great back round plant in a shady, moist border. They received a lot of positive comments and interest on our Garden Club’s Tour this year.

  6. I bought 3 a couple years ago, they came with a warning that they spread vigorously. I had them in their own bed, but when I saw where the suckers were coming up I dug up the whole bunch and got rid of them at the curb. I have a small yard, and I don’t have room for thugs.

  7. I have had two of them for six years now. Sad to say they do not re-seed in my Garden (Zone6) and they do not grow more than 4ft tall. I do love how they look in the spring with their frothy flower spikes.

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