Goldenrod

Solidago Genus

(Species include: Solidago altissima, Solidago caesia, Solidago odora, Solidago rugosa, Solidago rigida, Solidago speciosa)

Gerald D. Tang/gardenIMAGE

Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

Solidago altissima (Tall Goldenrod)
Solidago caesia (Blue-stemmed Goldenrod)
Solidago odora (Sweet Goldenrod)

Copyright, Janet Novak, Connecticut Botanical Society

Solidago rugosa (Rough-stemmed Goldenrod)
Solidago rigida (Stiff Goldenrod)
Solidago speciosa (Showy Goldenrod)

Goldenrods are very common wildflowers throughout Virginia and North America. It is difficult to describe only one, because there are over 50 species of Goldenrod in North America and most of them are very similar and hard to tell apart.

All Goldenrods are late bloomers, flowering in late Summer into the Fall. Most species have spectacular displays of bright yellow flowers.

Copyright, by David L. Green (used with permission)

Copyright, by David L. Green (used with permission)

Flowers are clustered on long stalks. Most Goldenrods have long, narrow leaves. Some species' leaves have smooth edges and some are toothed.

Goldenrods vary in height, with six feet being the tallest (Solidago altissima). Some, such as Solidago odora (Sweet Goldenrod) have pleasant odors.

Goldenrods are extremely important to other wildlife, especially insects. Many animals come to Goldenrod to drink nectar, collect pollen, nibble leaves and stems, prey on other insects, or lay eggs.

Bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, flies, and others visit for nectar and pollen. Caterpillars, aphids, and other small insects eat the leaves and stems. Wasps, spiders, praying mantids, lacewings, ambush bugs, assassin bugs, beetles, and birds prey on the insects Goldenrod attracts. There is even a Goldenrod Spider, who specializes in hiding on these plants! There are also special flies, called Gall Flies, which lay eggs in the stems and leaves of Goldenrod so their larvae can hatch and begin eating. Some insect predators, such as the Praying Mantis, lay their eggs on Goldenrod too, so their babies can feast on insects when they hatch. There are so many interactions among animals on and around Goldenrods that it becomes very complicated to follow.

Copyright, James Manhart

Goldenrods grow just about everywhere. They are most often seen in fields or along stream banks, but they can also be seen in woods.

They are sometimes considered a weed, because they grow quickly and can crowd other plants.

Additional Media

Description
Type
Credit
Key to Identify Different Species of Goldenrods
Link to Andy's Northern Ontario Wildflowers Website
Andy Fyon
Key to Identify Goldenrod Galls
Link to Solidago Gall Homepage
Bucknell University

Relationships in Nature:

Animals Using as Food Source

Animals Using as Shelter

Associations With Other Plants

OTHER

Monarch

Goldenrod Gall Fly

Mockernut Hickory

Chinese Mantid FP

Honey Bee

Goldenrod Spider

Common Dandelion

Eastern Yellow Jacket FP Po

Golden Northern Bumble Bee

American Dog Tick

English Plantain

Convergent Ladybug Beetle FP

Painted Lady

Northern Cardinal

Red Clover

Goldenrod Spider FP

Red Admiral

Chinese Mantid

Devil's Beggar-tick

Green Lacewing FP Po

Clouded Sulphur

Black and Yellow Argiope

Spotted Joe-pye Weed

Black Cherry A

Goldenrod Gall Fly

Green Stinkbug

Common Ragweed

Clouded Sulphur Po

White-tailed Deer

Eastern Mole

Jimsonweed

Honey Bee Po

Eastern Cottontail

Eastern Forest Snail

Black-eyed Susan

Golden Northern Bumble Bee Po

Black Carpenter Ant

White-footed Mouse

Chicory

Monarch Po

Pennsylvania Firefly

Common Grackle

Bushy Aster

Downy Woodpecker FP

Carolina Chickadee

White-throated Sparrow

Common Mullein

Goldenrod Gall Fly Pa

Green Stinkbug

Six-spotted Tiger Beetle

Buffalo Treehopper Pa

Eastern Forest Snail

Buffalo Treehopper

Organ-pipe Mud Dauber Po

Bald-faced Hornet

Chigger

Buffalo Treehopper

Organ-pipe Mud Dauber

Relationship to Humans:

Goldenrods are considered a very desirable wildflower, because of the large number of spectacular yellow flowers that bloom in late summer and fall. They are also great attractors of wildlife, especially butterflies. Sometimes, they do too well and become a nuisance.

Some Goldenrod species are used in making medicines.

Goldenrods are mistakenly blamed for pollen allergies. Goldenrod pollen is not the cause of fall allergies, though. Ragweed, which blooms at the same time as Goldenrod, is the culprit.

SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION

KINGDOM
Plant
DIVISION
Magnoliophyta
CLASS
Magnoliopsida
ORDER
Asterales
FAMILY
Asteraceae
GENUS
Soldidago
SPECIES
see species above

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