Hardy, summer-flowering, North American perennial
Description: Clusters of tiny, white flowers gathered in large, showy panicles bloom amongst bold, compound foliage; flowers followed by deep purple, inedible berries
Habit: Grows 3-5 feet high and wide; spreads slowly by thick rhizomes
Culture: Prefers partial shade and moist, rich soil
Hardiness: Cold hardy to USDA Zone 3
Origin: North America
Attributes: Showy fruit
With a broad native range from New Brunswick south to North Carolina and west to Arizona, Utah, and northern Mexico, the American Spikenard is an easily grown perennial that adapts to a variety of conditions. A member of the Ginseng family, the thick roots are spicy and aromatic and were once used to flavor teas and root beer. Aralia racemosa was included for sale in Bartram's Catalogue of American Trees, Shrubs, and Herbacious Plants (1783), with the growing requirement listed as "Richest deep moist Soil."