Family: Asteraceae (Sunflower family)
Height: 30 -150 cm (1 to 5 ft)
Blooming: Aug. - Oct.
Solidago speciosa Nutt.
Stem: erect, usually not branched. It is smooth most of the time with colored red or green.
Flowers: are in 15-300+ yellow flower heads which are relatively larger than other goldenrods. There are only 3-8 ray flowers (looks like the petals). The bright yellow conical clusters of flowers give it the showy name.
Leaves: the basal leaves are sometimes persistent through flowering with some wilting about that time. Leaves are alternately arranged on the stem. Halfway up the stem, the leafs are sessile (attached directly to the stem) and below they taper to a winged petiole. The are glabrate (usually pretty smooth. Sometimes small leaves will develop in the axis of the leaves (especially the upper ones). There on no teeth on the leaves.
Fruit: the fruit are smooth and dry seeds that have a soft, fluffy brown pappus (tufts of hair) which allow the seed to be dispersed by the wind.
Ideal condition: slightly dry soil and full sun. Found commonly in the oak savannas of Northwest Indiana.
SOURCES & FURTHER RESOURCES:
all photos by Nathanael Pilla
Landscape: a strong standing, adaptable plant that provides brilliant, bright yellow flowers for the fall season. It is an important source of nectar for butterflies and bees in autumn. One of our highest recommended plants for your perennial garden.
Comments: there is a lot of variability in the appearance of showy goldenrod with at two subspecies being recorded in Northwest Indiana. Goldenrods are not a source for ragweed pollen.
Etymology: The epithet name speciosa is Latin for "brilliant, showy, spectacular" because of the spectacular nature of the plant. The genus, solidago, comes from the Latin word, solida meaning "whole" and ago meaning "to make".