Solidago shortii 'Solar Cascade'
Common Name: short's goldenrod
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Asteraceae
Zone: 6 to 9
Height: 2.00 to 2.50 feet
Spread: 1.50 to 2.00 feet
Bloom Time: September to October
Bloom Description: Golden yellow
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Dry to medium
Maintenance: Low
Flower: Showy, Good Cut
Attracts: Butterflies
Tolerate: Deer

Culture

Best grown in moist, gravelly, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Best performance is in full sun. Plants will slowly spread by rhizomes to form colonies. Plants will also self seed, but are self-incompatible and need a pollinator. Cross-pollination occurs by insects (soldier beetle is reportedly a primary pollinator).

Noteworthy Characteristics

Solidago shortii, commonly known as Short's goldenrod, is on the Federal Endangered Species list. It is named after Dr. Charles Wilkins Short who first discovered this plant in 1840 growing on a limestone outcrop called Rock Island within the Falls of the Ohio River near Louisville, Kentucky. Plants at this original site disappeared in the early 1900s, at least in part because dam construction on the Ohio River destroyed the habitat. The only know populations of this goldenrod today are the Blue Lick Springs area of northeastern Kentucky (14 populations in Fleming, Nicholas and Robertson Counties) and along the Blue River in Harrison-Crawford State Forest in southern Indiana (1 population). Habitat for this plant mostly consists of open rocky areas including limestone glades, rocky slopes, roadside ledges, wood margins, fields and along river banks. Plants typically grow 2.5' tall on upright arching stems clad with alternate, serrate, narrow-elliptic, medium green leaves (to 3-4" long). Longest leaves are found near the middle of each stem. Basal and lower stem leaves usually wither prior to flowering. Tiny yellow flowers bloom along the upper stems in small axillary and terminal clusters from late summer to early fall (September-October). Flowers are attractive to bees and butterflies. This plant is listed in the Center for Plant Conservation's National Collection of Endangered Plants.

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 most likely honors Kentucky botanist Dr. Charles W. Short (1794-1863).

'Solar Cascade' was developed by the Cincinnati Zoo Botanical Garden Native Endangered Plant Program as part of its efforts to save the species. ‘Solar Cascade’ is a clump-forming perennial with short rhizomes that spread less aggressively than other goldenrods. It has arching panicles of small bright golden yellow flowers that attract butterflies and bees and is drought tolerant once established.

Problems

No known serious insect or disease problems.

Garden Uses

Native gardens.