Aruncus dioicus (Walt.) (goat's beard or bride's feathers) is in the rose family, Rosaceae. It is herbaceous, with alternate, pinnately compound leaves, on thin, stiff stems. The flowers are on elegant white stalks, and borne in the summer. This plant can be found throughout Europe, Asia, and eastern and western North America. It Italy the young shoots are eaten, usually boiled briefly in herb infused water,and then cooked with eggs and cheese. In Friuli it is one of the ingredients in the local home-made soup based on wild greens called 'pistic'.
This is an elegant and stately plant for the shade garden. Tall and erect, it's a bushy, clump-forming plant that grows to 4-6' high featuring pinnately compound, dark green foliage and showy, plume-like spikes of tiny, cream colored flowers which rise well above the foliage in early to mid summer, creating a bold effect. It's somewhat similar in appearance to astilbe, to which it is related. It is dioecious (separate male and female plants) as the species name suggests. Plants with male flowers (numerous stamens per flower) produce a showier bloom than plants with female flowers (three pistils per flower).