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Woodland Goldenrod.

October 11, 2014

Blue-Stemmed Goldenrod

Zigzag Goldenrod

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.

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Zigzag Goldenrod is easily recognized by its wide and toothy leaves.  Most Goldenrod have narrow long leaves, but not this one.

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This species is one of the most shade-tolerant of the Goldenrod family.  It tends towards lowland woodlands.

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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.

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The zigzag part of the name apparently comes from the slight changes in direction the stem takes when a leaf sticks out.

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Blue-Stemmed Goldenrod is another very distinctive woodland species.

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Its flowers grow all along the stem as opposed to clustering in branches or at the top.

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Its leaves are long and narrow like many Goldenrod; they are often slightly toothed.

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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.


12 Comments leave one →
  1. October 12, 2014 7:29 am

    Enjoyed your post. When in the woods, we’ll now be taking a closer look for goldenrod.

  2. October 12, 2014 11:54 am

    Wonderful post. I would love having the Zigzag goldenrod in the woods; I have large stands of the big leaf aster, another shade loving native normally seen in the sun. I don’t think I’ve seen the zigzag here. I do have the blue stemmed variety; it tends to seed at the foot of oaks along the edge of the woodland areas. Love goldenrods, sun or shade!

  3. October 12, 2014 11:49 pm

    That’s very pretty stuff! I’ve never seen it here but it would be very welcome!

    • October 13, 2014 9:56 am

      It’s pretty indeed, Montucky! Not everyone welcomes Goldenrod, though- it’s apparently an invasive species in Asia.

  4. October 13, 2014 2:25 am

    I love the descriptions – I did not know there were so many varieties of goldenrod! and so different. …

  5. October 17, 2014 6:28 pm

    I’ve searched and searched for zig zag goldenrod but have never seen it here. Maybe your shots of the leaves will help.
    Blue stem we have plenty of and the stem is often very blue like a black raspberry cane.

    • October 17, 2014 9:07 pm

      There’s something very attractive about the Blue-Stemmed Goldenrod- maybe it’s the flowers growing all along the stem!

  6. October 19, 2014 11:21 am

    I’ve never seen those before – it’s fascinating how different the leaves are, and the way the flowers are arranged. I love the blue-stemmed one. The leaves almost look like willow!

    • October 19, 2014 7:18 pm

      So true, Hedwigia! Blue-Stemmed Goldenrod is one of my favorites, in the woods here they line certain pathways through the trees. Absolutely gorgeous.

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