Buchanan-Hamilton ex D. Don

Prodr. Fl. Nepal., 210. 1825 ,.

Common names: False goatsbeard or spiraea feather-tree
Etymology: Greek a-, without, and stilbo, sheen, alluding to foliage otherwise resembling that of Aruncus
Treatment appears in FNA Volume 8. Treatment on page 129. Mentioned on page 43, 44, 45, 46, 130.
FNA8 P16 Astilbe biternata.jpegAstilbe
Astilbe biternata
Saxifragopsis fragarioides
Leptarrhena pyrolifolia
Barbara Alongi
Barbara Alongi
Barbara Alongi
Barbara Alongi
Yevonn Wilson-Ramsey
Yevonn Wilson-Ramsey

Herbs, clump-forming, not rhizomatous, not stoloniferous; caudex stout. Flowering-stems erect, leafy, 150–200 cm, stipitate-glandular with unicellular and multicellular hairs. Leaves basal and cauline, usually ternately decompound or 3-pinnately compound, never simple, leaflets short-petiolulate; stipules present; petiole present, glandular-stipitate, hairs uniseriate and multiseriate; leaflet blades ovate, largest terminal leaflet usually 3-lobed, base of leaflet oblique, truncate, or cordate, margins coarsely and irregularly double-serrate, teeth mucronate, apex acuminate, surfaces short-stipitate-glandular on veins abaxially, glabrous adaxially; venation of terminal leaflet pinnately-palmately netted. Inflorescences relatively large, plumose panicles, rarely congested and spikelike, terminal from terminal bud of caudex, (branched), 500–2000-flowered, bracteate, (elongate-triangular); (branches stipitate-glandular). Flowers usually unisexual, rarely bisexual, plants usually dioecious, rarely polygamous, (becoming reflexed in fruit, short-pedicellate); hypanthium 1/4 adnate to ovary proximally, free from ovary 1 mm, (shallow), greenish whitish; sepals 5, white [pink or red to purplish]; petals absent or (1–) 5, white [pink or red to purplish]; staminate flowers: stamens 8–10, (erect), inserted below rim of hypanthium, filaments filiform, (anthers cordate-orbiculate), ovary abortive, surrounded by distinct nectary disc; pistillate flowers: stamens abortive, pistils 2 (–3) -carpellate, carpels connate proximally, ovary superior, barely adnate proximally to hypanthium, 2-locular or 3-locular, with poorly differentiated nectary disc, placentation axile, styles 2 (–3), stigmas 2 (–3), capitate. Capsules 2 (–3) -beaked. Seeds brown, winged due to presence of loose seed-coat, often twisted at both ends, oblong-cylindric, striate or lightly wrinkled, lustrous. x = 7.


e North America, e Asia (Japan and China into the Himalayas and southwards to New Guinea)


Species ca. 24 (1 in the flora).

Astilbe japonica (C. Morren & Decaisne) A. Gray has been reported (1891 in Rhode Island, 1945 in New York) as spreading from cultivation; it probably has not naturalized. Aside from being much to the north of the range of A. biternata, it is much smaller, 15–80 cm tall; has cuneate-oblanceolate leaflets that are rarely lobed or cleft; and has perfect flowers with the petals longer than the stamens. Petals can be pink to purplish in A. japonica versus white in A. biternata. There are many garden hybrids and cultivars involving several species of southeastern Asian Astilbe species.

Selected References


Lower Taxa

... more about "Astilbe"
epigynous +, perigynous +  and hypogynous +
T. Lawrence Mellichamp +
Buchanan-Hamilton ex D. Don +
cordate +, truncate +  and oblique +
dentate +, serrate +  and entire +
glandular-ciliate +  and ciliate +
3-carpellate +  and 2-carpellate +
False goatsbeard or spiraea +  and feather-tree +
ebracteate +, bracteate +  and 2-300(-1000+)-flowered +
e North America +  and e Asia (Japan and China into the Himalayas and southwards to New Guinea) +
Greek a-, without, and stilbo, sheen, alluding to foliage otherwise resembling that of Aruncus +
pistillate +  and staminate +
bisexual +  and unisexual +
150 cm1,500 mm <br />1.5 m <br /> (200 cm2,000 mm <br />2 m <br />) +
2-3(-4)-beaked +  and folliclelike +
multicellular +  and unicellular +
multiseriate +  and uniseriate +
greenish whitish +
free +  and adnate +
simple +, compound +  and decompound +
opposite +  and alternate +
cauline +  and basal +
short-petiolulate +
glabrous +  and short-stipitate-glandular +
1 cm10 mm <br />0.01 m <br /> (?) +
crassinucellate +, unitegmic +  and bitegmic +
bracteate +  and 500-2000-flowered +
spikelike +  and plumose +
epigynous +, perigynous +  and hypogynous +
distinct +
Unlobed (?) +  and Lobed (?) +
glandular-stipitate +
2(-3)-carpellate +
unequal +
Prodr. Fl. Nepal., +
spiny +  and ribbed +
straight +
wrinkled +  and striate +
oblong-cylindric +
distinct +
unbranched +  and branched +
persistent +
horizontal +  and erect +
connate +  and distinct +
Astilbe +
Saxifragaceae +
mucronate +
not stoloniferous +  and not rhizomatous +
annual +, biennial +  and perennial +
plant +, herb +  and clump-forming +
polygamous +  and dioecious +