Update on “Yet Another Goldenrod” (FotD 9/22)

It appears that one of my mystery goldenrods is Solidago racemosa.  This might not interest you much, but it interests me because although it is a rare plant throughout its range, it can be found pretty readily along the rocky bluffs of the Potomac gorge.

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It’s a compact plant, only growing a foot or so tall, with leaves both on the stem and forming a basal rosette.

Although S. racemosa has several different common names, none of them are commonly used.  It’s gone through several botanical name changes, too, formerly known as  S. simplex and S. spathulata.

Just about everything you’d care to know about the Solidagos can be found in the goldenrods section of the Astereae Lab web page of the University of Waterloo in Canada.

S. racemosa is endangered in New York, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania; threatened in Tennessee; and of special concern in Kentucky.

Flower of the Day: Silver-rod

Soldago bicolor; Asteraceae (aster family)

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That’s right, another goldenrod.  Except this Solidago has white flowers (it’s the only one that does), therefore silver-rod.  I found it the morning after returning from Montreal, blossoms just opening on a few plants, but dozens more plants almost ready.  With any luck they won’t be finished blooming when I get back from my Nova Scotia trip… If they aren’t I’ll get some better pics and write a proper FotD post.

Flowers of the Day: Two More Goldenrods

elm-leaved goldenrod; Solidago ulmifolia; Asteraceae (aster family)

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wandlike goldenrod; Solidago stricta

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Annoyed with myself for not always getting the information I need to properly identify species – especially Solidago species –  I hiked one morning with my books tucked into my pack, with a little notebook, too.  When I got to the cliffs upstream of Carderock, I set everything out on a boulder and started taking notes.  In order to identify goldenrods, you need to consider the following:

  • stem: green, brown, purplish? smooth or rough? densely hairy, minutely hairy, covered with white bloom? hairy on one end but not the other? angled?
  • leaves: uniform size along the stem or getting smaller as they ascend? entire, serrate, doubly serrate?  lower ones serrate, upper ones entire?  sessile or with petioles?  tapering or blunt at the base and/or tip?  hairy on top?  hairy underneath? hairy only along the veins underneath?  feather veined or nerved? if nerved, one or three? thin or coarse? lanceolate, linear, elliptical, ovate?
  • inflorescence: plumelike, wandlike, elm-branched, clublike, flat-topped? terminal or axillary?
  • flowers: how many rays? size? bracts spreading?
  • habitat: swamp or bog? dry woods? field or roadside? thickets? dry sandy soils?

After all this, I’m still not sure the first one pictured above is correctly identified. And I’m still not sure which one this is:

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At least I had fun taking pictures.