Solidago nemoralis
Common Name: old field goldenrod
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Native Range: Canada, United States
Zone: 3 to 9
Height: 0.50 to 2.00 feet
Spread: 0.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: August to September
Bloom Description: Yellow
Sun: Full sun
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Naturalize
Flower: Showy
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer, Drought, Dry Soil, Shallow-Rocky Soil

Culture

Easily grown in average, dry to medium, slightly acidic, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers full sun and dry soil. Tolerates light shade. Intolerant of full shade. Likes rocky, sandy soils. Tolerates poor soils, but plants generally grow taller and more vigorously in rich soils. This is a rhizomatous, spreading, somewhat weedy 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.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Solidago nemerosa, commonly called old field goldenrod, is a rhizomatous, upright 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 is native to North America across the southern provinces of Canada from Newfoundland to British Columbia and in the U. S. from Maine to Florida west to Montana and New Mexico. It is found throughout the State of Missouri 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 (Steyermark).

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.

Goldenrods are attractive to bees and butterflies. Goldenrods have been wrongfully accused of causing hay fever which is actually an allergic reaction to wind-borne pollen from other plants such as ragweed.

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.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Susceptible to rust, anthracnose, powdery mildew and leaf spot. Root rot may occur in poorly-drained soils. Potential insect pests include several different types of beetles, aphids and gall-forming insects. Plants can be aggressive spreaders in optimum growing conditions, but are generally not considered to be invasive in the U.S.

Garden Uses

Typically not planted in formal garden settings because of its spreading rhizomatous growth and self-seeding. Plants grow as somewhat unexceptional mounds of green foliage until the flowers explode into bloom in late summer. Meadows, wild gardens, and cottage gardens where plants can naturalize. Good choice for challenging areas with poor soils where other types of plants are difficult to grow.