Gray goldenrod - Professor Beaker

Gray goldenrod

 

Andy's Northern Ontario Wildflowers

Goldenrods

(Solidago: pronounced sole-ih-DAY-go)

Note: Identification of Solidago is not simple. The identification on this page are under review.

 

Home

Alpine Wildflowers

Yukon Wildflowers

Giant Hogweed

Sudbury Wildflowers

Habitat

Plant List

Selection by Colour

Flowering period

Waste area wildflowers

Wildflower Meadows

Wildflowers of deciduous and coniferous forests

Wildflowers and plants in wet areas (lakes, bogs, beaches)

Goldenrods

Flowering Shrubs

Wildflowers and slide shows from other geographic areas: Bearskin Lake First Nation, Marten Falls First Nation, North Spirit Lake First Nation, Eabametoong First Nation, Webequie First Nation

Other "Plants"

Mushrooms + Fungi

Moss & lichen

Ferns

Burwash Scenery

Seasonal images of Burwash (Spring, summer, fall, winter)

Burwash Area Images

Local Wildlife

Birds, Animals, Amphibians, Reptiles, Insects, Butterflies, Scats and Tracks

Manitoulin Wildflowers

Manitoulin Alvar Types and Wildflowers

Shore alvar flowering plants

Open alvar pavement flowering plants

Grassland alvar flowering plants

Alvar Woodland flowering plants

Sand dune and beach plants

Items for Sale

Store - wildflower products + services

Wildflower Tours

Wildflower Note Cards

Wildflower Fridge Magnet

Wildflower Prints

Stock Images or Images for Personal and Commercial Use

Wildflower Identification Sheets

Alvar Wildflower Posters

 

Public Presentations on Geology and Wildflowers

Other Information

Geophytes

Invasive Plants

Plant Hardiness Map

Favorite Links

Reference Books

Guest Comments

Copyright Notice

Site Changes

Habitat:

Goldenrod is a very common wildflower. It occurs in many habitats, including waste areas, meadows, and on the margins of forests. There are about 125 varieties of Goldenrod native to North America. There are 30 species of goldenrods in Ontario!  Their identification may be difficult!

All these goldenrods are native to North America.

Goldenrod occurs in most areas where there is full to part sun.

Folklore: There is an old legend that relates goldenrods to asters. Two young girls talked about what they would like to do when they grew up. One, who had golden hair, said she wanted to do something that would make people happy. The other, with blue eyes, said that she wanted to be with her golden-haired friend. The two girls met and told a wise old lady of their dreams. The old lady gave the girls some magic corn cake. After eating the cake, the girls disappeared. The next day, two new kinds of flowers appeared where the girls had walked: Asters and Goldenrods.

Language of Flowers: Goldenrod means "encouragement" or "precaution". Source

Click here for more habitat information:

For an excellent resource describing Goldenrods in Ontario, see: John C. Semple, Gordon S. Ringius, and Jie Jay Zhang. 1999. The Goldenrods of Ontario: Solidago L. and Euthamia Nutt., 3rd edition, University of Waterloo Biology Series 39: 1-99.

Another excellent classification summary is provided at Ontario Wildflowers

Classification:

Goldenrod is a member of the Composite or Daisy family. Goldenrod is most easily classified on the basis of the plant shape.

Note, the following black and white goldenrod profile images are reproduced from page 190 in "A Field Guide to Wildflowers of Northeastern and North-central North America by Roger Tory Peterson and Margaret McKenny (1968), Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 420p." (see reference book page)

Plume-shaped goldenrod

Plume-like

Elm-shaped goldenrod

Elm-branched

Club-shaped goldenrod

Club-like or showy

 

Wand-like

Flat-topped shape of goldenrod

Flat-topped


Example forms of goldenrod shape:

Plume-like shape:

Tall goldenrod - See Canada Goldenrod. The species Tall Goldenrod is now included as Solidago canadensis var. scabra. Tall Goldenrod was formerly considered to be a separate species (Solidago altissima).

Return to list

Canada goldenrod; native perennial; Tall Goldenrod is now included as Solidago canadensis var. scabra. Tall Goldenrod was formerly considered to be a separate species (Solidago altissima).

Family: Aster family (Asteraceae).

Flower: Yellow, 9 to 15 flower rays; 3 mm; flowers occur along the upper part of each flowering stem; August-October.

Leaves: Toothed; Lance-shaped; parallel-veined, rough-textured; alternate.

Stem: downy and grayish; several flowering stems exist at the top of the plant and form a panicle-bearing mass of tiny yellow flowers.

Height: May reach 2 m.

Habitat: Waste areas, tall grass prairies, along roadsides and fence lines, dry open fields, and in open woods or damp meadows that dry out every year; not found on waterlogged sites and only rarely on very dry sites; shade intolerant although it occurs in sparsely wooded areas.

Interest: Canada Goldenrod is now included as Tall Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis var. scabra or Canada Goldenrod). Canada Goldenrod and Tall Goldenrod were formerly considered to be separate species (Tall Goldenrod: Solidago altissima); significant variability in the characteristics of local species; flowers are attractive to many species of wasps and flies and it is an important source of nectar for honeybees; several shades of dye can be produced; inhibits the growth of Maple seedlings, and possibly other plants, by exuding chemicals through its roots; name "canadensis" comes from the Latin, "of Canada"; one of the first species to invade following disturbances or fire.

Return to list

Canada goldenrod flowerhead, Copyright 2002 Andy Fyon

Location: Burwash
Date: August 30, 2002

Canada goldenrod leaves, Copyright 2002 Andy Fyon.

Canada goldenrod leaves. Note the leaves are triple-veined and not strongly toothed.

Location: Burwash
Date: August 30, 2002

 

Return to list

Canada goldenrod toothed leaves

Toothed leaves of Canada goldenrod.

Location: Sudbury
Date: August 31, 2002

Return to list

Canada goldenrod planr, copyright 2003, Andy Fyon

Canada golden plant

Location: Burwash
Date: August 31, 2002.

Return to list

Tall goldenrod field, Kelly Lake Road, Copyright 2006 Andy Fyon., www.ontariowildflower.com

Field of Canada goldenrod.

Location: Kelly Lake Road, Fielding Park, Sudbury
Date: November 13, 2006.

Return to list

Gray goldenrod., Burwash, Copyright 2002 Andy Fyon.

Gray goldenrod; also known as Gray-stemmed Goldenrod, Dyer's-weed Goldenrod, Old-field Goldenrod; native perennial.

Family: Aster family (Asteraceae).

Flower: Yellow; slender, one-sided plumes of flowers (secund); 5-11 rays; flower spikes are about 9 - 15 cm long; groups of flower heads form crescent-shaped clusters along the spikes; July-October.

Leaves: Tiny leaflets in the leaf axils where leaves join the stem; basal leaves are long, tapered, and up to 15 cm long; upper leaves become smaller upward and may be only a 1.5 cm long near the flowering spikes.

Stem: Grayish or reddish colour; covered with fine gray hairs; singly or in groups of six or occasionally more.

Height: 12-50 cm.

Habitat: Sunny, dry sandy or gravelly prairie, old pasture, roadsides, and dry open woods.

Interest: The curved form of the Gray Goldenrod is distinctive.

Location: Burwash
Date: August 30, 2002

Return to list

Gray goldenrod leaves. Note the tiny leaflets in the leaf axils where the leaves join the stem.

Location: Burwash
Date: August 30, 2002

Return to list

Gray goldenrod leaves, Burwash, Copyright 2002 Andy Fyon.

Gray goldenrod flower detail, Burwash, Copyright 2002 Andy Fyon.

Detail of Gray goldenrod flowers.

Location: Burwash
Date: August 30, 2002

Return to list

Early goldenrod; native perennial.

Family: Aster (Asteraceae)

Flower: Yellow; plume-like or may assume an elm-like shape; 7 to 12 rays; flowering branches diverge and are curved downward (recurved); flowering top is broad and shaped like an elm-tree; flower heads occur along the top of the branch (second); July-September.

Leaves: Distinctive wing-like leaflets in axils of slim toothless upper leaves; lower stem leaves are large, broad, toothed and tapered into the stalk; alternate; up to 16 cm long and 3 cm across; stem leaves become smaller higher up the stem; lanceolate with margins that are smooth or slightly serrated; stem leaves are attached directly to the stem without leaf stalk.

Stem: Smooth stem; slightly ridged, hairless, and green or reddish in colour; single or several and branching.

Height: 20-100 cm.

Habitat: Open, dry soils, prairies, sunny waste areas, abandoned fields, edges of wooded areas and open woods, and disturbed areas. Will grow in moist soil that is well drained.

Interest: This species is one of the earliest goldenrods to flower - early July in the Sudbury area. Distinctive identification features include the second flower heads, the near or complete absence of hair on the stems and leaves, and the wing-like leaflets that occur in axils of the upper leaves.  The flowers attract many types of insects, including bees, wasps, flies, butterflies, moths, and beetles.

Location: Burwash
Date: July 12, 2001

Return to list

Early goldenrod

Leaves of early goldenrod

Distinctive wing-like leaflets in axils of slim toothless upper leaves.

Location: Burwash
Date: July 12, 2001

 

Elm-branched shape:

Rough-leaved goldenrod

Rough-stemmed goldenrod; native perennial.

Form: The spreading elm-like shape of the flower branches is distinctive.

Flower: Yellow; heads on recurved branches; heads are on one side of branch (secund); 6-11 rays; August - October.

Leaves: Basal leaves are absent; upper stem leaves are 4-9 cm long by 2 cm at widest; wrinkled; hairy; toothed; alternate;  rough on upper surface.

Stem: Rough and hairy; grows from long creeping rhizomes; branches are divergent and arched and plant has an elm-tree-like shape.

Height: Up to 1.5 m tall.

Habitat: Swamps, wet meadows, bogs, roadsides, open meadows, and disturbed areas.

Interest: This species is highly variable in size, shape of flower top, and presence of hairs.

Location: Burwash
Date: August 26, 2001.

Return to list

Profile of Rough-stemmed goldenrod.

Location: Paddy Creek beaver meadow
Date: August 17, 2002.

Return to list

Rough-stemmed goldenrod, Copyright 2002 Andy Fyon.

 

 

Club-like and showy:

Stout goldenrod, copyright 2007 Andy Fyon, www.ontariowildflower.com

Stout goldenrod:

Flowers: Yellow; 10-16 flower rays; 15-30 disk florets; flower head is narrow and elongate; not secund; August - October.

Leaves: Basal leaves are strongly toothed; egg-shaped to elliptical; lower and basal leaves are 10-25 cm long and stalked; upper leaves are much smaller and unstalked; are horizontal "wings" where the leaves join the stem.

Stem: Erect, usually solitary; reddish.

Height: up to 1.5 m tall.

Habitat: Dry woods, fields, and rocky areas.

Location: Killarney Highway.
Date: August 26, 2007.

Return to list

Stout goldenrod leaf axils, copyright 2007 Andy Fyon, www.ontariowildflower.com

Stout goldenrod leaves. Note the "wings" in the leaf axils.

Location: Killarney Highway
Date: August 26, 2007

Return to list

showy_goldenrod_winter

Stout goldenrod in the winter.

 

Return to list

Bog goldenrod; flowers in terminal cluster that is longer than broad; individual flower clusters are neither curving nor one-sided.

Flowers: Yellow; 1-8 flower rays; up to 4 mm long and 0.5 mm wide; 6-8 disk florets, up to 5 mm long; August - October.

Leaves: Basal leaves are oblanceolate, up to 35 cm long and 6 cm wide; upper stem leaves are similar but much reduced upwards, alternate.

Stem: Erect, usually solitary; up to 1.2 m tall.

Height: up to 1 m tall.

Habitat: Moist woodland openings and  fields.

Location: Bog beside railroad leading to Elbow Lake
Date: August 5, 2002

Return to list

Bog goldenrod, Elbow Lake, Copyright 2002 Andy Fyon.

Bog goldenrod, copyright 2003 Andy Fyon.

Detail of bog goldenrod flower head.

Location: Secord road, Quarry trail.
Date: August 8, 2003

Return to list

 

Wand-like and slender:

erect goldenrod single flower

Erect goldenrod (also called slender goldenrod):

Profile of a single plant bathed in sunset light.

Flower: Pale yellow, 6-9 rays.

Leaves: usually smooth and devoid of hair.

Stem: usually devoid of hair.

Height: up to 1 m.

 

Return to list

Erect goldenrod plant

Erect goldenrod plant growing in a fallow field.

Location: Burwash
Date: July 28, 2001.

Return to list

erect_goldenrod_winter

Erect goldenrod in the winter.  Note seed puffs.

Return to list

Erect goldenrod cluster

Erect goldenrod (also called slender goldenrod):

View of several erect goldenrod plants in moist meadow area.

Return to list

Downy goldenrod flower

Downy goldenrod

 

 

Downy goldenrod plant

Downy goldenrod

Downy goldenrod

Flower: Yellow; 9-16 rays; August - October.

Stem: Minute hairs on stem and leaves. Stem is sometimes purple-coloured.

Leaves: Leafy stem; may be toothed.

Height: up to 1 m.

Habitat: Sandy areas, rocky outcroppings, open woods.

Return to list

 

Ontario Goldenrod (simplex), copyright 2006 Andy Fyon

Ontario Goldenrod; also known as Dune Goldenrod, Gillman's Goldenrod, and Sticky Goldenrod; native perennial.

Flower: Ray florets (7-16) and disk florets (6-31); somewhat resinous or sticky flower heads are distinct.

Stem: Erect; one to several.

Leaves: Basal rosette leaves and lower stem leaves are lanceolate with forward-pointing teeth; up to 5 cm wide; stem leaves become less common upward.

Height: Up to 8 cm tall.

Habitat: Found on rocky shore of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay; also on gravelly open ground.

Interest: This is not a common species in Ontario.

Location: Killarney shoreline.
Date: August 6, 2006

Return to list

Blue-stemmed goldenrod

Flower: Yellow; scattered clusters in leaf axils; flower heads ~6 mm long; August-October.

Leaves: 6-12 cm long; stalkless, elliptic, tapering at both ends; toothed; sharply pointed.

Stem: Smooth, purplish; sometimes arch-shape.

Height: 30-90 cm.

Other: Found in woods and clearings.

Return to list

Blue-stemmed goldenrod

Blue-stemmed goldenrod stem.

Blue-stemmed goldenrod stems.

It is difficult to capture the bluish-colour of the stem.

Location: Burwash
Date: August 26, 2000.

Return to list

 

Flat-topped:

Slender fragrant goldenrod, Burwash, Copyright 2002 Andy Fyon.

Grass-leaved goldenrod; also known as Nuttall's Goldenrod, Flat-topped Goldenrod, Flattop Goldentop, Lance-leaved goldenrod, Sweet Goldenrod; native perennial.

Flower: Yellow, 17-22 ray florets; 4-7 disc florets;  individual flowers average 3 to 5 mm across, flower clusters average 2 to 3 cm across.

Leaves: Basal leaves absent at time of flowering, up to 13 cm long by 1 cm wide; stem leaves are very narrow, have 3-5 parallel veins; up to 6 cm long by 0.5 cm wide; alternate.

Stem: Erect; up to 1.5 m tall; branching.

Height: up to 0.5 m.

Habitat: Disturbed ground, road sides, fields, and open ground. Prefers moist, well-drained soils in full sun to shade, but tolerates poor, dry soils and is somewhat drought tolerant.

Interest: A favourite for butterflies and preying mantises. The Latin word "graminifolia" means "grass-leaf" in reference to the leaves on this species, which are thin and long, much like grass blades.

See also: Grass-leaved Goldenrod (John C. Semple)

Location: Burwash
Date: August 4, 2002

Return to list

Grass-leaved goldenrod, copyright 2010 Andy Fyon, www.ontariowildflower.com

Close up of Grass-leaved goldenrod leaves and part of the inflorescence.

Location: Killarney lighthouse area
Date: July 7, 2010

Return to list

Grass-leaved goldenrod, copyright 2010 Andy Fyon, www.ontariowildflower.com

Grass-leaved goldenrod growing adjacent to Lake Huron on a shore alvar.

Location: Misery Bay, Manitoulin Island.
Date: August 17, 2010

Return to list

Houghton's goldenrod plant, copyright 2010 Andy Fyon, www.ontariowildflower.com

Location: South Bay area, Manitoulin Island
Date: August 4, 2010

Return to list

Houghton's goldenrod; perennial herb.

Family: Aster (Compositae or Asteraceae)

Flower: Yellow; large umbrella-shaped head that is flat topped; 5-30 flower heads; has button-like disk flowers are ringed by prominent ray flowers; flowering stems or pedicles may be finely hairy; August to September.

Leaves: Rosette of narrow leaves at its base; linear lower stem leaves that are slightly clasping, up to 18 cm long and 2 cm wide, sometimes folded along the mid-rib; flat, sickle-shaped, folded, and triple-nerved; upper stem leaves are slightly clasping at stem; longer leaves may be up to 10 cm long and < 1 cm wide.

Stems: Erect, slender 30-60 cm tall; reddish and hairless.

Height: 30 to 60 cm.

Habitat: This species is endemic to the Great Lakes region. It is characteristic of shore alvars in moist calcareous fens. It grows only along the shorelines of the Great Lakes - primarily along the northern shores of Lakes Michigan and Huron. In Ontario, it grows on the Bruce Peninsula and rarely on Manitoulin Island.

Identification: Can be confused with Grass-leaved goldenrod and Ohio goldenrod, which also have a flat-topped flower clusters, and that grow in the same habitat. These are the only goldenrods with flat-topped flower clusters that occur along the shores of the northern Great Lakes. Grass-leaved goldenrod has many more leaves along the stem, but it lacks leaves at the plant base during flowering. Also, its flower-heads are much smaller than those of Houghton's goldenrod. Ohio goldenrod is larger with broader, flat leaves and a dense, many headed flower cluster with smooth, non-hairy stalks of the individual flower-heads. The yellow "petals" in Houghton's goldenrod are larger than those in the other two.

Status: Threatened Provincially, Special Concern Nationally

Distribution: Range Map

Interest: Does not require seeds to reproduce as new plants grow from underground rhizomes. Individual plants do not necessarily flower every year; individual plants may live up to 6 years without flowering and may continue to live after flowering. Houghton's goldenrod was named after Douglass Houghton, who was the first state geologist of Michigan. During the geological survey of Michigan in 1839, Houghton discovered this goldenrod species in Michigan, on the north shore of Lake Michigan.

Ontario's Biodiversity: More information about this Species at Risk (Royal Ontario Museum).

Habitat of calcareous fen, Houghton's goldenrod, copyright 2010 Andy Fyon, www.ontariowildflower.com

Houghton's goldenrod, accompanied by Ohio goldenrod, growing in a calcareous fen, South Bay, Manitoulin Island.

Location: South Bay area, Manitoulin Island, Ontario
Date: August 4, 2010

Return to list

Houghton's goldenrod, copyright 2010 Andy Fyon, www.ontariowildflower.com

Detail of Houghton's goldenrod inflorescence.

Location: South Bay area, Manitoulin Island, Ontario
Date: August 4, 2010.

 

Houghton's goldenrod, copyright 2010 Andy Fyon, www.ontariowildflower.com

Houghton's goldenrod illustrating the subtle hairy stem below the flower head.

Location: South Bay area, Manitoulin Island, Ontario
Date: August 4, 2010

Return to list

Ohio goldenrod; perennial herb.

Family: Aster (Compositae or Asteraceae)

Flower: Yellow; large umbrella-shaped head with hundreds of tiny yellow flowers; flat-topped; June to October.

Leaves: Flat, not triple-nerved; long, erect, upward-pointing.

Stems: Erect.

Height: 40 0 90 cm.

Habitat: Characteristic of calcareous fens and common in moist areas, such as Alvars, beaches, ditches, moist meadows.

Interest: Can be confused with Riddell's goldenrod (Solidago Riddellii), which occurs in similar habitats; however, S. Riddellii has leaves that are are sickle-shaped, folded, and triple-nerved, and its inflorescence is hairy.  Solidago comes from the Latin word solido meaning "to strengthen; to make solid". Ohioensis is the Latin word meaning "of Ohio".

Return to list

Ohio goldenrod, copyright 2006 Andy Fyon.

Location: Manitoulin Island
Date: August 2, 2004.

Ohio goldenrod, copyright 2006 Andy Fyon.

Ohio goldenrod plant growing in the alvar habitat.

Location: Manitoulin Island
Date: September 11, 2005.

Return to List

Uplands White Goldenrod; native perennial herb; also known as Upland White Aster, Prairie Goldenrod, Prairie flat-top-goldenrod, Sneezewort aster, Stiff aster.

Family: Aster (Compositae or Asteraceae)

Flower: White; flat-topped inforesence; individual flower heads are 1 cm across; 10 to 25 white ray flowers per head; yellow disc centres; July to September.

Leaves: Linear-lanceolate; 1 to 3-nerved; smooth edge (entire) or with a few distant teeth on the margins; sessile or very short petioled; lower and basal leaves up to 12 cm long; upper leaves smaller and those on the branches are very small.

Stems: Erect.

Height: Up to 50 cm, but appears to be smaller on shore alvars on Manitoulin Island.

Habitat: Characteristic of shore alvar, open pavement alvar and calcareous fens on Manitoulin Island; prefers full sun; also typical of dry prairies, inland sands, and sandy, gravelly, limy soil (typical of Manitoulin Island alvars).

Interest: Was historically classified as an aster (Aster ptarmicoides) or Oligoneuron album because of the white rays and showy flowers. It is now considered to be a native prairie wildflower and the name "Solidago asteroides" has been proposed. The scientific name "Solidago" comes the Latin word "solido", meaning "to make whole or heal", presumably a reference to inferred medicinal qualities of the goldenrod plants.

Other links to Upland White goldenrod:

a) Robert W. Freckmann Herbarium (University of Wisconsin)
b) Flora of North America
c) Ontario Wildflowers
d) The Asters, Goldenrods, and Fleabanes of Grey and Bruce Counties

Uplands white goldenrod, copyright 2010 Andy Fyon, ontariowildflower.com

Location: South Bay area
Date: August 4, 2010

Return to list

Uplands white goldenrod, copyright 2010 Andy Fyon, ontariowildflower.com

Uplands white goldenrod plant growing on an open shore alvar.

Location: Murphy Point, Manitoulin Island
Date: July 25, 2006

Return to list

Top of Page


For more information email: andy@ontariowildflower.com
Page last updated on: August 8, 2010
Website created by Andy Fyon
URL: http://www.ontariowildflower.com/goldenrods.htm
© 1999-2010 Andy Fyon

Canada flag

   Search this site                 powered by FreeFind
 

Site Map    What's New    Search