Solidago ulmifolia var. ulmifolia

Elm-Leaved Goldenrod


CC = 4
CW = 5
MOC = 71

© DETenaglia

Family - Asteraceae/Astereae

Habit - Perennial forb, the rootstock short and often branched, not producing rhizomes.

Stems - Ascending to erect, to 1.2 m, solitary to several, with several fine, longitudinal ridges or grooves, glabrous below the inflorescence or moderately pubescent with mostly spreading hairs 0.5-1.5 mm long, not shiny, not glaucous.

Solidago_ulmifolia_var_ulmifolia_stem.jpg Stem below the inflorescence.

© DETenaglia

Solidago_ulmifolia_var_ulmifolia_stem2.jpg Stem within the inflorescence.

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Leaves - Alternate, simple, basally disposed. Offsets usually absent. Basal and lowermost stem leaves with the blade 6-12 cm long, 2-5 cm wide, mostly 2-6 times as long as wide, elliptic to obovate or narrowly obovate, relatively thin, tapered relatively abruptly to a short to long, winged petiole at the base, angled or tapered to a sharply pointed tip, the margins sharply toothed and inconspicuously hairy, the surfaces sparsely to moderately pubescent with spreading or curved hairs, the upper surface often somewhat roughened to the touch, the undersurface with 1 main vein, the fine, pinnate secondary veins usually easily observed (these usually forming an irregular network). Median and upper stem leaves 1-6 cm long, elliptic to narrowly lanceolate, the margins toothed or those of the uppermost leaves entire, otherwise similar to the lower stem leaves.

Solidago_ulmifolia_var_ulmifolia_leaves1.jpg Stem and leaves.

© DETenaglia

Solidago_ulmifolia_var_ulmifolia_leaf1.jpg Leaf adaxial.

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Solidago_ulmifolia_var_ulmifolia_leaf2.jpg Leaf abaxial.

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Solidago_ulmifolia_var_ulmifolia_leaf2a.jpg Leaf abaxial surface.

© DETenaglia

Inflorescences - Open, more or less pyramidal panicles, the branches usually arched or nodding, the lowermost branches often relatively long, the heads oriented upward along the branches.

Solidago_ulmifolia_var_ulmifolia_inflorescence.jpg Inflorescence.

© DETenaglia

Solidago_ulmifolia_var_ulmifolia_inflorescence2.jpg Inflorescence branch.

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Solidago_ulmifolia_var_ulmifolia_inflorescence3.jpg Inflorescence branch.

© SRTurner

Heads - Involucre 2.5-4.0 mm long, the bracts in 3 or 4 unequal series. Involucral bracts oblong-ovate to narrowly oblong-lanceolate and bluntly to sharply pointed at the appressed-ascending tip, the thin, white to yellowish white margins hairy (at least toward the tip), the outer surface glabrous, with an elliptic or narrowly diamond-shaped, green to light green central region above the midpoint, this tapered gradually to the midvein, the midvein often slightly thickened and no additional veins present. Receptacle naked.

Solidago_ulmifolia_var_ulmifolia_heads.jpg Flowering heads.

© DETenaglia

Solidago_ulmifolia_var_ulmifolia_heads2.jpg Flowering heads.

© DETenaglia

Florets - Ray florets 3-5, the corollas 1.5-2.0 mm long, yellow. Disc florets 4-7, the corollas 2.5-3.0 mm long, the lobes 0.5-0.9 mm long, yellow. Pappus 2.0-2.5 mm long, a few of the bristles often slightly thickened toward the tip.

Solidago_ulmifolia_var_ulmifolia_florets.jpg Florets.

© DETenaglia

Fruits - Achenes 1.0-1.6 mm long, narrowly obovoid, finely hairy.

Flowering - August - November.

Habitat - Mesic to dry upland forests, bluffs, glades, savannas, pond margins, acid seeps, streambanks, pastures, old fields, dry ditches, roadsides.

Origin - Native to the U.S.

Lookalikes - Many other goldenrods, but especially S. rugosa.

Other info. - This is one of the most common goldenrods in Missouri, being found in woodlands throughout most of the state. Missouri and Illinois are at the center of its natural range, which extends northward into Wisconsin and New England and southward into Texas. The plant is recognized by its inflorescences of typically arching branches and its elliptic leaves with coarsely toothed margins. The small heads lined up along the inflorescence branches all point upward and have 3-5 ray florets each.

The species variety shown on this page is var. ulmifolia, which is the more common of the two varieties of S. ulmifolia found in Missouri. It has stems which are glabrous below the inflorescence. The other variety, var. palmeri, has lower stems which are moderately pubescent with mostly spreading hairs up to 1.5 mm long.

Photographs taken at Shaw Nature Reserve, Franklin County, MO, 8-21-2021 (SRTurner).