Goldenrods

Early Goldenrod Canadian Goldenrod Early Goldenrod European Goldenrod

What are they?

The goldenrods are members of the daisy family (Asteraceae). The small, usually golden-yellow, florets are typically arranged in clusters along the upper parts of the stems and form spreading flowerheads that are often multi-branched and contain a large number of indiviual florets. Each bears the typical daisy family appearance, with each floret having five tiny petals that are fused into narrow tubes. Clusters of these florets are then contained within a sheath of phyllaries. Goldenrods are particularly common in North America, where a great many species have evolved and a number have been introduced to the UK as garden ornamentals.

Where are they found?

Our one native species is a scarce plant of grassy places on acid soils, while other species are occasionally encountered as garden throw-outs. The two larger species have the potential to be rather invasive as they can spread to form quite extensive colonies in open, grassy places and can persist for many years.

Identification

Goldenrods are all rather similar in their flowers, so are best identified by taking note of the overall appearance of the flowerhead (especially whether branched or not) and details of the leaves and stems. Note that the overall shape of the flowerhead can change somewhat according to the stage of development of the flowers. After flowering, all species produce the 'fluffy' clusters that are so typical of the Aster family.



European Goldenrod      Solidago virgaurea

Native. Uncommon in East Anglia and found in a scattering of grassy places on acid soils and heaths. Flowers June to September. A short species, to a metre in height and often much less. Larger plants have branched flowering spikes but small plants often have just a single stem. Leaves relatively small, 2-10cm in length and often strongly curled. Stems with a mix of short, curled, glandular and simple hairs.

European Goldenrod European Goldenrod European Goldenrod European Goldenrod
Habit
Flowers
Flowers
Leaves


Canadian Goldenrod      Solidago canadensis

Introduced from North America as a garden ornamental and widely established on rough ground and grassy places. Often discarded by gardeners as it can become overly dominant in a garden. Flowers August to October. A tall species, 1-2.5m in height. Flower spikes much branched and openly spreading. Leaves relatively large, 4-8cm in length. Stems ridged and with a varying amount of short, curled, simple hairs.

Canadian Goldenrod Canadian Goldenrod Canadian Goldenrod Canadian Goldenrod
Habit
Young flower spike
Open flower spike
Flowers
Canadian Goldenrod Canadian Goldenrod Canadian Goldenrod Canadian Goldenrod
Phyllaries
Leaf
Leaf
Stem


Early Goldenrod      Solidago gigantea

Introduced from North America as a garden ornamental and scattered in the region on rough ground and grassy places. Often discarded by gardeners as it can become overly dominant in a garden. Flowers July to October. A tall species, 1-2.5m in height. Flower spikes much branched and openly spreading, though branches are typically shorter than those of Canadian Goldenrod. Leaves relatively large, 4-9cm in length. Stems only lightly ridged, hairless and typically with a whitish or glaucous 'bloom'.

Early Goldenrod Early Goldenrod Early Goldenrod Early Goldenrod
Habit
Young flower spikes
Open flower spike
Flowers
Early Goldenrod Early Goldenrod Early Goldenrod
Phyllaries
Leaf
Stem


Rough-stemmed Goldenrod      Solidago rugosa

Introduced from North America as a garden ornamental and once recorded in Suffolk as a garden escape or throw-out. Flowers August to October. A short species, to 1m or so in height. Flower spikes openly spreading but typically wand-like and unbranched. Leaves relatively small, 3.5-9cm in length, with strongly impressed veins. Upper stems with a good covering of stiff, whitish hairs.

Rough-stemmed Goldenrod Rough-stemmed Goldenrod Rough-stemmed Goldenrod Rough-stemmed Goldenrod
Habit
Flowers
Flowers
Phyllaries
Rough-stemmed Goldenrod Rough-stemmed Goldenrod
Leaf
Stem