Field Goldenrod



Botanical Name:  Solidago nemoralis

Common Name:  Field Goldenrod, Old Field Goldenrod, Gray Goldenrod, Prairie Goldenrod, Grayleaf Goldenrod, Gray-Leaved Goldenrod, Dyersweed Goldenrod, Dwarf Goldenrod

Description:  Field goldenrod is a rhizomatous, upright Florida native perennial of the sunflower family that typically grows to a very compact 6” to 24” tall (infrequently to 30” tall). It is one of the smallest of the many species of goldenrod. It native habitat is in a variety of locations including old or fallow fields, dry open ground, prairies, leached or eroded slopes, glades, loess hills, dry open woods, thickets, roadsides, and along railroads.

This is an erect perennial that typically features a clump of 1-6 unbranched gray-green stems densely covered with short white hairs. Stems are clad with alternate, narrow lanceolate to oblanceolate, gray green leaves (to 4” long and 3/4” wide) with fine hairy surfaces. Larger lower leaves have winged petioles and toothed margins. Smaller upper leaves lack winged petioles and toothed margins.

Flowering from August to November, the stems are topped with narrow, often downward-arching, one-sided, bright yellow flower plumes (panicles to 4-10” long), with the flowerheads (each to 1/4” across”) primarily located on the upper side of each panicle. Flowerheads are replaced after bloom by hairy achenes.

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, slightly acidic, well-drained soils in sun to part sun. Tolerates poor soils and drought, but plants generally grow taller and more vigorously in rich soils and supplemental water. This is a rhizomatous, spreading, plant that can colonize an area by creeping rhizomes and self-seeding. Removal of flower heads prior to ripening of seed, if practicable, will help prevent seed dispersal.

This has special value to native bees and honey bees. Butterflies are also attracted to the flowers, and birds and small mammals eat the seeds. This attracts good bugs that eat the bad bugs, so add it to your Integrated Pest Management system. They have been wrongfully accused of causing hay fever which is actually an allergic reaction to wind-borne pollen from other plants such as ragweed.

This plant in 1-gallon containers is 5-15″ tall.

Plant Lore:  Genus name comes from the Latin words solidus meaning whole and ago meaning to make in reference to the medicinal healing properties of some species plants. Specific epithet means growing in woods in reference to one of the locations where this plant is found growing in the wild. Common name of old field goldenrod is in reference to another one of this plant’s common growing locations. Native Americans used/use Goldenrod for everything from kidney, bladder, and gallbladder problems, and jaundice to skin problems like ulcers and burns. In addition, in the Americas, it has been/is used to treat toothaches, colic, asthma, measles, and headaches. A lotion made from the flowers was thought to reduce localized swelling and soothe bee stings. It was also believed that an unconscious person could be awakened from the smoke of burning Goldenrod.

Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 9

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