Aralia racemosa - American spikenard

American spikenard is a large perennial thriving in a shady woodland garden. It has tropical looking twice pinnate leaves and beautiful white racemic flowers. The unedible berries developed in the racemes are first green and then change to blackish when ripen. The whole plant is strongly scented.

The genus Aralia consists of woody and herbaceous plants and many of them spread by rhizomes. So does american spikenard which can form slowly a spreading growth. A small piece of root can continue growth so the planting space should be restricted.

American spikenard grows natively in the lush forests of the eastern North America. The native americans used tea made of its aromatic root to treat back pain and as a cough medicine.