Northern Ontario Plant Database
Solidago nemoralis Aiton
En: greystem goldenrod, grey goldenrod, oldfield goldenrod, gray goldenrod
Asteraceae (Daisy Family)
General: An erect perennial, 2—10 dm tall, spreading by creeping rhizomes. Stems are green to dark purple, vertically lined from the leaf bases, and have a dense coating of short fine hairs that give the stems a greyish appearance. Allergy alert: Goldenrod pollen does not cause hayfever, but goldenrod flowers are frequently visited by wasps and hornets, whose stings can cause anaphylaxis is sensitive workers.
Leaves: Basal and stem leaves are present, both are simple and hairy. Basal leaves and lower stem leaves are oblanceolate to spatulate, 2—9.5 cm long by 0.7—1.5 cm wide; bases taper gradually to a winged petiole, apices are blunt (obtuse) to pointed (acute), and margins are entire to coarsely toothed near the apex. Mid and upper stem leaves are alternate, sessile, and oblanceolate to elliptic, 1.6—4.5 cm long by 3—7 mm wide, taper gradually to the base, and also have obtuse to acute apices and entire margins. Small leafy tufts often emerge from the axils of lower leaves.
Flowers: Plants in the Aster Family have flowers arranged in inflorescences called heads, composed of few to many small flowers attached to a base covered with overlapping rows of bracts (phyllaries), forming an involucre. The branched flowering stems of greystem goldenrod plants may be erect to slightly nodding at the top, and narrow (wand-shaped) to narrowly triangular or pyramid-shaped (pyramidal), with up to 300 yellow-rayed heads. The lateral flowering branches are raceme-like and elongate with maturity.
Mature plants have heads arranged along axillary branches in a secund fashion, with each head facing upward. Head are composed of 5—11 ray flowers and 3—10 disc flowers. Ray flowers have a flat elliptic corolla, 2.8—5.5 mm long and less than 1 mm wide, while disc flowers have a tubular corolla 2.5—4.6 mm tall. Involucres are 2.6—5.8 mm tall, with 22—30 oblong blunt-tipped overlapping phyllaries. Mature flowering heads have anthers that extend well above the corolla when shedding pollen. Flowers bloom in late summer.
Fruit: Small brown achenes, 0.5—2 mm long, topped by a pappus of numerous whitish bristles, 2—4 mm long.
Habitat and Range: Dry, sandy, or acidic soils in open fields, roadsides, and rights-of-way, often on disturbed ground. Greystem goldenrod is common north to the Batchawana area of Algoma, but is uncommon farther north.
Similar Species: Hairy goldenrod (Solidago hispida Muhl. ex Willd.) is most similar in shape to greystem goldenrod; it differs in its narrow flowering stem, which bears short axillary clusters of few heads that are erect to nodding, but never secund. The most common goldenrod in the Algoma District is the Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis L.) which has large pyramid-shaped flowering heads and obovate leaves with serrate margins. Canada goldenrod and related species have leaves with 3 prominent veins, formed by a pair of secondary veins that separate from the midrib near the middle of the leaf.Back to species list