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American Spikenard - Aralia racemosa

American Spikenard - Aralia racemosa

Aralia racemosa, also known as American Spikenard, is a perennial wildflower native to Michigan.
It reaches 3-5 feet tall with an equal width. Spikenard is shaped like a shrub, and with attractive foliage, it serves that purpose in landscaping yet it dies back to the ground each fall. Under ideal conditions it will spread slowly by rhizome and seed to create thickets. Spikenard flowers from June to August with a showy cluster of white blossoms, followed by purple berries.

Spikenard prefers partial sun, but tolerates full sun to full shade, though it will be smaller and less dense in full shade. Rich moist to medium moisture soils are ideal, but it will grow in clay, loam, rocky sites, or sand, and is drought tolerant when established.


Though people do not find the berries edible, the roots have been used medicinally or to flavor beverages. According to Illinois Wildflowers, little is known about pollinator use of this plant, but birds make enthusiastic use of the berries.

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