Solidago speciosa Nutt.

Prairie Goldenrod


CC = 7
CW = 5
MOC = 45

© SRTurner

Family - Asteraceae/Astereae

Habit - Perennial herb with short, stout rootstock. Usually not rhizomatous.

Stems - Erect, to 1.5 m, finely ridged, glabrous below the inflorescence, not glaucous.

Solidago_speciosa_stem.jpg Stem and leaf bases.

© SRTurner

Leaves - Alternate, basally disposed or with the largest leaves about 1/3 way up the stem, sometimes with offshoots present. Blades to 30 cm long, mostly 2-6 times as long as wide, elliptic, somewhat thickened, tapered at the base, margins entire or shallowly toothed, glabrous, the underside with 1 main vein.

Solidago_speciosa_leaves.jpg Leaves and stem.

© SRTurner

Solidago_speciosa_leaf1.jpg Leaf adaxial.

© SRTurner

Solidago_speciosa_leaf2.jpg Leaf abaxial.

© SRTurner

Inflorescences - Axillary clusters or racemes, these usually appearing as a racemose, elongate terminal panicle (this not pyramidal or nodding), the heads oriented in several directions when ascending to spreading branches are present.

Solidago_speciosa_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence branch.

© SRTurner

Heads - Involucre 3-6 mm long, the bracts in 3-5 unequal series. Involucral bracts mostly oblong, rounded or bluntly pointed at the appressed-ascending tip. Receptacle naked. Ray florets 5-8, the corollas 3.5-5.0 mm long, yellow. Disc florets 7-10, the corollas 2-4 mm long, the lobes 0.5-0.9 mm long, yellow. Pappus bristles 2.0-3.5 mm long..

Solidago_speciosa_involucres.jpg Heads.

© SRTurner

Solidago_speciosa_florets.jpg Florets.

© SRTurner

Fruits - Fruits 1.0-1.8 mm long, narrowly obovoid, glabrous.

Flowering - August - November.

Habitat - Prairies, loess hills, savannas, bluff tops, forest openings.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Lookalikes - Other species of Solidago.

Other info. - This attractive species is found in scattered locations throughout much of the state, usually in upland habitats. Its North American distribution includes the eastern half of the U.S. and upward into parts of Canada. Various authors have described infraspecific forms of the plant, two of which (var. rigidiuscula and var. speciosa) are currently recognized in Missouri. These differ primarily in leaf width and overall height of the plant. The species epithet speciosa means "beautiful."

Infusions of Solidago speciosa roots and stems were used medicinally by the Chippewa native peoples. It grows well in cultiavtion and should be considered for garden plantings.

Photographs taken at Shaw Nature Reserve, Franklin County, MO, 9-28-2018 (SRTurner).