Normally we think of Goldenrod being a wildflower of the fields and wood edges. That’s where we see it most of the time. But if you take a walk in the woods in the autumn, look along the path- you may see the occasional Goldenrod there too, even in the forest.
To be fair, one sees the occasional field plant in a wood clearing- that’s not terribly uncommon. But along the edges of paths in the forest one can spot the occasional Goldenrod this time of year, blooming in the partial shade.
Not every Goldenrod in the woods is exotic- Canada or Gray Goldenrod will be seen here and there. But if you look closely, you’ll see a couple of species that you don’t see out in sunny areas.
Zigzag Goldenrod is easily recognized by its wide and toothy leaves. Most Goldenrod have narrow long leaves, but not this one.
This species is one of the most shade-tolerant of the Goldenrod family. It tends towards lowland woodlands.
The flower heads are clustered towards the top of the stem. There’s little in the way of branching out like some other Goldenrod grows.
The zigzag part of the name apparently comes from the slight changes in direction the stem takes when a leaf sticks out.
Blue-Stemmed Goldenrod is another very distinctive woodland species.
Its flowers grow all along the stem as opposed to clustering in branches or at the top.
Its leaves are long and narrow like many Goldenrod; they are often slightly toothed.
Occasionally the stem is a darker color. This is a fairly common woodland Goldenrod that grows along paths typically in upland woodlands.
When you’re in the autumn woods, there’ll be more than just Asters here and there- keep an eye out for these interesting Goldenrods that have adapted quite well to partial shade.