A rare and magnificent shrub-like perennial with showy clusters of small white flowers from June to July. Produces flashy dense bunches of inedible purple berries through the fall above a wide, leafy base with lovely compound leaves. Tolerates drought, clay, and rocky soil, although this species prefers rich woodland loams. Spreads slowly by rhizomes to form soft thickets, making excellent shelter for songbirds, which feast on the berries in the fall. Also an important source of nectar and pollen for native bees. Can be difficult to relocate once established, due to its thick root system; combined with its wide spread (up to 5'), it's important to choose a permanent location for this plant where it will not overshade its neighbors. Historically, the fragrant roots have been used to flavor root beer, tea, and to make a variety of poultices, however handling the roots and bark may cause an allergic skin reaction in some people.
2.5-5' tall (3-6' wide)
Plant Hardiness Zones: 2b-8b
Native Range: ME south to GA, west to AZ, NE, SD and WI, excluding LA and OK. Rare in RI, DE, MS, AL, TX, CO, KS, NE and SD. Native in Canada in MB, ON, QC, NB, NS, and PE.
Germination - Moderately Difficult: Soak for 1 day, then cold stratify 8 weeks.