Canada goldenrod

(Solidago canadensis var. canadensis)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed


No image available


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland






Moist to dry. Prairies, fields, ditches, roadsides, and forest openings. Full to partial sun.


August to October

Flower Color

Yellow ray florets, yellow disk florets


12 to 78



This is a 12 to 78 tall, though usually no more than 60 tall, erect to ascending, perennial forb that rises on 1 to 20 or more stems from long, creeping rhizomes. It often forms large, dense patches. The roots and leaves exude toxic chemicals that inhibit the growth and survival of competing species (allelopathy).

The stem is erect and leafy. It is not shiny and not covered with a whitish, waxy bloom (glaucous). The lower half of the stem is hairless or sparsely hairy. The upper half is densely covered with short hairs.

There are no basal leaves. Stem leaves are alternate, narrowly lance-shaped, and thin. Lower to middle stem leaves are 2 to 7½ long and 3 16 to 13 16 wide. The leaf blade is distinctly 3-veined. It tapers to the base and is attached to the stem without a leaf stalk. It tapers to a point at the tip with concave sides along the tip. The upper surface is hairless or slightly rough due to the presence of short, stiff hairs. The lower surface is sometimes hairless but usually has hairs along the midrib and main veins. The margins are toothed with sharp, forward-pointing teeth. Lower to middle stem leaves are usually withered by the time the plant is in flower. Middle to upper stem leaves are similar, 13 16 to 4¾ long, and 5 16 to ½ wide, largest near the middle, becoming gradually smaller as they ascend the stem. The margins are toothed, minutely toothed, or sometimes untoothed just below the inflorescence.

The inflorescence is a pyramidal, open, many-branched, spreading cluster up to 10 across with 150 to 1300 flower heads. The flowering branches are long, hairy and strongly bent backward. The flower heads are arranged on one side of the branch.

The tiny flower heads are less than ¼ wide. They have 7 to 18, usually 15 or fewer, yellow ray florets and 3 to 6 yellow disk florets. The whorl of bracts surrounding the base of the flower head (involucre) is 1 16 to long and yellowish in color. The corolla is 1 16 to long.


Early goldenrod (Solidago juncea) stems are hairless.

Giant goldenrod (Solidago gigantea) stems are hairless and sometimes covered with a whitish, waxy bloom.

Harger’s goldenrod (Solidago canadensis var. hargeri) stem is moderately hairy both above and below the middle, though it may be hairless or nearly hairless very near the base. The flower heads tend to have fewer ray florets, 5 to 10, averaging 9, and have fewer disk florets, 2 to 4. It has been recorded only in Grant County in western Minnesota.

Missouri goldenrod (Solidago missouriensis) is a shorter plant, no more than 32 tall. The stem is hairless below the inflorescence. Lower stem leaves are on winged leaf stalks up to 2 long. The leaves are somewhat thickened and stiff, not thin. They become noticeably smaller toward the top of the stem. The upper and lower leaf surfaces are hairless. A tight bundle of small, wing-like leaves often appear in the leaf axils. The flower heads have 8 to 20 disk florets.

Salebrosa goldenrod (Solidago canadensis var. salebrosa) flower heads usually have 5 to 11 disk florets.

Tall goldenrod (Solidago altissima ssp. altissima) is moderately to densely hairy both above and below the middle. There are often large insect galls on the lower and middle part of the stem. Fresh plants often have a gray-green tone from the short hairs on the leaf surfaces. The plant is usually hairy throughout. The leaves are relatively thick and firm. The involucre is longer, to 3 16 long.

Distribution Distribution Map   Sources: 4, 7, 28.





Asteraceae (aster)









Astereae (aster)


No Rank:

North American clade


Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)




Canada goldenrod

Canadian goldenrod

Common goldenrod













The release of a chemical toxin by one plant to inhibit the growth or germination of nearby competing plants.



Modified leaves at the base of a flower stalk or flower cluster.



A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.



Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.



A whorl of bracts beneath or surrounding a flower or flower cluster.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.


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