Solidago missouriensis

Prairie Goldenrod

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


  • Solidago, from the Latin
  • missouriensis, from the Latin, "of Missouri"
  • Common Name, from
  • Other common names include: Missouri Goldenrod


  • 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: 36277


  • A warm season native perennial herb.
  • Leaves somewhat rigid, the basal being largest, petioled, and often early-deciduous. Progressively reduced upward on stem; ¾"-5" long.
  • Stems 4"-39" tall, arising singly or clustered.
  • Roots tend to be rather superficial, but can reach over 6' deep
  • Flower a rather rounded, compact, branched terminal panicle of small, congested flowerheads. Ray flowers 3/16"-1/4" long; disk flowers 1/8"-3/16" long.
  • Fruit a small achene; pappus of numerous bristles.
  • Plants arise from creeping cordlike rhizomes or spreading caudex; sometimes both.



  • Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia east to southern Ontario; south to Tennessee and Arkansas; west to Arizona.


  • Rather dry, open places on the slopes of valleys and on plains; also sparsely wooded areas, grassy roadsides, rocky slopes, and open communities where sod is broken along railroads, ditches, and fences.
  • Growth is poor on gravel and dense clay, fair on sand and clay, and good on sandy to clayey loam.
  • Grows poorly on strongly acidic and saline soils, though it shows tolerance of weakly acidic to moderately basic and weakly saline soils. Optimum soil depth 10"-20".
  • Pioneers disturbed sites, but also tolerant of partial shade.
  • Resumes growth from rhizomes and/or the caudex in spring to early summer. Plants often shed basal leaves after flowering begins. Seeds mature about 6 weeks after flowers bloom. If plants are damaged they make variable regrowth in the summer until seed maturation.


  • Has good fire tolerance in the dormant state; can reproduce by rhizomes or from rootstalk.
  • Produces numerous small, wind-dispersed seeds which can establish in the open, sunny conditions created by fire. May also be an initial on-site colonizer, since its seeds are found in the seedbank
  • Probably top-killed by fire during the growing season. However, has good survival from fire, especially on damper sites and in the dormant state, due to persistent rhizomes and rootstalk.



  • During the long drought of the 1930's in the Midwest, Prairie Goldenrod colonized bare areas where grasses and other native plants had died out. By 1940, after the drought, prairie goldenrod patches had thinned out and the plants were dwarfed by competition with grasses. By 1943, prairie goldenrod was mostly or completely suppressed.



  • Reproduces by seed and vigorous rhizomes; can form dense colonies in both uplands and lowlands.
  • Stores seeds in the seedbank.


  • By seed, following cold stratification.
  • Seeding often fails, so transplanting rootstock divisions or small plants may be the only way of ensuring establishment.


  • Hardy to USDA Zone 3 (average minimum annual temperature -40ºF)
  • Rodents and grasshoppers may endanger new seedlings. Dodder (Cuscuta spp.), a parasitic plant, can be a problem in humid regions.
  • Cultivars and species available by mail order from specialty suppliers or at local nurseries



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Last Updated on 27 September, 2002