Solidago canadensis

Canada Goldenrod

Canada Goldenrod, Photo courtesy Wisconsin State Herbarium and Merel R. Black
Canada Goldenrod
Photo courtesy Wisconsin State Herbarium
and Merel R. Black

Flora, fauna, earth, and sky...
The natural history of the northwoods


Name:

  • Solidago, from the Latin
  • canadensis, from the Latin, "of Canada"
  • Common Name, from
  • Other common names include

Taxonomy:

  • Kingdom Plantae, the Plants
    • Division Magnoliophyta, the Angiosperms (flowering plants)
      • Class Magnoliopsida, the Dicotyledons
      • Subclass Asteridae
        • Order Asterales, the Sunflowers
          • Family Asteraceae, the Sunflowers
            • Genus Solidago, the Goldenrods
  • Taxonomic Serial Number: 36224

Description:

  • An erect, rhizomatous perennial herb to 6' tall, forming large, tight clonal colonies.
  • Leaves alternate, surrounding central stem with the larger leaves occuring on the lower stem.
  • Rhizomes usually 2"-5" long, from the base of the arial stems.
  • Flowers yellow, borne on numerous small flower heads.
  • Fruit is an achene.

Identification:

Distribution:

  • Widespread across North America, occurring in almost every state and throughout Canada.

Habitat:

  • Abandoned farmlands, infrequently grazed pastures, waste areas, and tallgrass prairies, also along roadsides and fence lines, in dry open fields, and in open woods or damp meadows that dry out every year.
  • Tolerates wide range of soil fertility and texture conditions, but typically found in fairly moist soils. Not found on waterlogged sites and only rarely on very dry sites.
  • Fairly shade intolerant although it occurs in sparsely wooded areas and is sometimes dominant or codominant in disturbed forest understories.
  • One of the first species to invade following disturbances or fire, it is eventually replaced by shrubs.
  • Has an allelopathic effect on Sugar Maple (Acer saccharum) seedlings and reduces germination of herbaceous species, including itself.

Fire:

  • Generally enhanced by fire, regenerating after fire from on-site soil-stored seed and underground rhizomes. Fire top-kills all aerial portions. Responds positively following low to moderate severity fires.

Associates:

  • Herbs: Northern Bedstraw (Galium boreale), Bracken Fern (Pteridium aquilinum), Prairie Goldenrod (Solidago missouriensis)
  • Mammals: White-tailed deer selectively graze, particularly in late summer and autumn after flowering.

History:

Uses:

  • An important source of nectar for honeybees.
  • Several shades of dye can be produced.

Reproduction:

  • Reproduces by seed and vegetatively by rhizomes.
  • Flowers self-sterile and pollinated by insects.
  • Seed dispersal by wind, with most falling within 6' of the parent plant.
  • Reproduces from rhizomes after the first year of growth. One erect stem usually forms at a rhizome node.

Propagation:

  • By seed, following cold stratification.
  • Division most successful method

Cultivation:

  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3 (average minimum annual temperature -40ºF)
  • Cultural Requirements
    • Full sun
    • Moist soil
  • Cultivars and species available by mail order from specialty suppliers or at local nurseries.
  • Can be a pest in perennial gardens, and crops.

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Last Updated on 27 September, 2002