Feb. 18, 2018

late goldenrod, Solidago gigantea

Flora of North America lists 77 species of goldenrod in North America north of Mexico. So it is a bit of a challenge to come up with 77 different names. Can we blame the people who did it if they got it wrong? After all, in many cases the slice of the world and its plants that they sampled in those days was pretty limited. Solidago gigantea is no bigger than any number of other common goldenrods. Late goldenrod is one of the earlier bloomers around here. It is the relatively smooth stems that set late goldenrod apart from other similar species. Smooth goldenrod is among the common names, but seems to be the least used. I guess smooth isn't as much fun as giants and late shows. Whatever you call it, it grows in every state except AK, AZ, and HI, and every province except LB, NF, and YT. Some authorities separate western plants as S. lepida. If one adopts that approach, the range of S. gigantea stops with the Rocky Mountains. This species has been introduced in Mexico. Lenawee Co MI, 8/7/10.