Solidago speciosa Nutt.
Family: Asteraceae
showy goldenrod
Solidago speciosa image
Paul Drobot  
Etymology: Solidago: from Latin solido, meaning "to make whole or heal" and a reference to the supposed, medicinal qualities of these plants
Plants: erect, perennial, 8"-60" tall forb forming multi-stemmed clumps; stems usually very leafy, smooth, and reddish
Leaves: firm, thick, mostly entire, and not hairy
Flowers: head with 6-8 yellow rays, bracts (phyllaries) slightly sticky and yellowish; inflorescence a 10" coarsely hairy, dense, branched conical cluster of heads; blooms Aug.-Oct.
Fruits: smooth, dry seed on fluffy pappus
Habitat: full sun; dry to moderate moisture; prairies, woods, inland sands; in sandy, loamy soil
Conservation Status: Native
Common in prairie remnants, sandy fields, open oak and jack pine woods, roadsides, sandstone bluffs, river terraces, and beaches, mostly south and west of the Tension Zone. Variety speciosa, more common in the eastern United States, includes robust plants usually more than 70 cm tall with persisting basal leaves 30--80 mm wide and cauline leaves mostly more than 30 mm wide. Variety rigidiuscula Torrey & A.Gray, more common on the Great Plains, includes less robust plants, with basal leaves withering or less than 30 mm wide, and numerous cauline less than 30 mm wide. Plants with few cauline leaves and more open panicles have been treated as var. jejunifolia (E.S.Steele) Cronquist. The varieties appear to be fairly distinct with well-defined ranges. Semple, Tong, & Chong (2017) treat jejunifolia and rigidiuscula as distinct species.