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Canada Goldenrod Solidago canadensis


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Canada Goldenrod
credit: Georg Slickers/CCSA

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Alternate name: Meadow Goldenrod, Tall Goldenrod

Family: Asteraceae, Aster view all from this family

Description Native herbaceous perennial from single or multiple stems, 3-7' tall. A simple caudex (enlarged stem base) or creeping rhizomes can be present. Plants are hairy above the middle.
Leaves: Leaf texture and hairiness and flower head size are the highly variable characters. Leaves are usually about 2 to 4 inches long, toothed, and distributed quite uniformly up the stem.
Flower: tiny yellow flowers are held on the arching branches. The yellow flower heads are about 1/4 inch long and consist of about 8 disc flowers surrounded by 15 ray flowers.
Fruits: tiny achenes equipped with white bristles to aid transport by wind.

Flower Late summer/early fall.

Flower August - September

Habitat Sunny, mesic sites: Disturbed areas, forest edges, roadsides, prairies.

Range Throughout continental North America. Not reported in Louisiana, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, or Florida.

Discussion Also known as common goldenrod. This plant is considered weedy or invasive in some areas; in others it is sown as a wildflower. Like many asters, the nomenclature for this plant is confusing, with many overlappng varieties and subspecies.

Comments Height is determined mostly by the fertility and moisture content of the soil. The western form is ssp. elongata.

Exposure Preference Sun.

Native Distribution Most of s. Canada & Alaska, s. to Virginia, Louisiana & California

Site Preference Dry to moist roadsides, thickets, prairies & open woods

Soil Preference Moist to dry soils.

Wildlife Value Attracts butterflies.