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Types of Goldenrod.

October 4, 2014

Canada Goldenrod

Gray Goldenrod

Flat-Topped Goldenrod

Stiff Goldenrod

Three years ago- has it been that long?- I looked at Goldenrod as a common autumn wildflower.  I alluded to the fact that there were different species of Goldenrod, but didn’t delve too deeply into identifying them…now’s the time to remedy that!

Goldenrod seems  to have peaked last week here in central Ohio.  There’s a lot of it to see out there along the roadsides, in fields, and along wood edges.  Just seeing a wash of yellow doesn’t mean there aren’t different types to identify.  I thought I’d point out the 4 most recognizable (to me) types of Goldenrod that I see.

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Canada Goldenrod is probably the ‘classic’ best-known Goldenrod species.  It is common, typically grows in colonies, and is easily identified by its large blooms that radiate outwards from the top of the plant in a busy branching manner.

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Gray Goldenrod is a smaller Goldenrod species, typically with a small number of blooming branches.

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Flat-Topped Goldenrod has more dispersed blooms set in a bushy manner- this plant often prefers wet areas to grow in.

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Stiff Goldenrod is very distinctive.  Its blooms cluster at the top of the plant, not spreading out.  Its leaves are short and stubby, with a rubbery texture.

All of these Goldenrods can be seen out in open sunny areas right now.  Next week we’ll take a look at some different Goldenrods that strangely enough like to hide in the woods.

13 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2014 7:44 pm

    A lovely sight to see in the fall.

  2. October 5, 2014 11:23 pm

    I didn’t realize there were varieties of it. I should have known better–there is so much variety in nature.

  3. October 6, 2014 11:41 pm

    Goldenrod knows that this is the very best time of the year to be pretty!

  4. October 7, 2014 7:32 am

    How interesting–I never knew there were different types. Guess I will need to look more closely this weekend!

    • October 7, 2014 12:48 pm

      There are several other types too, Inger- I’m not sure if I’ve seen them or not, I’m not as good of a botanist as I’d like!

  5. October 19, 2014 6:45 am

    Hi. Goldenrods are a lot of fun to identify. I have a key to New Brunswick goldenrods that sorts the species we have here very quickly. Jane

  6. October 19, 2014 11:18 am

    A lovely set of pictures. My mum has always grown the top one in her garden (Canada goldenrod) so that’s the one I think of as ‘goldenrod’, though it isn’t native here in the UK. This summer I saw quite a lot of the UK native Solidago virgaurea (just called ‘goldenrod’ in my flower book) along the coastal cliff tops in Wales. It’s a smaller plant but has larger flowers rather like your Stiff Goldenrod, but the leaves are more like the Canada one.

    • October 19, 2014 7:16 pm

      There’s a surprising amount of Goldenrod species, Hedwigia- it’s considered an invasive species in China (it’s native to North America). A beautiful one, though!


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