stiff goldenrod

(Solidago rigida ssp. rigida)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status

Great Plains

FACU - Facultative upland


FACU - Facultative upland

Northcentral & Northeast

FACU - Facultative upland

stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida)

Stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida) is a 24 to 60 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on 1 to 10 stems from a short, branched, woody caudex.

The stems are erect or ascending, stout, and unbranched below the inflorescence. They are rough to the touch due to a moderate to dense covering of short, stiff, curved hairs, even near the base. At the base of the stem is a rosette of basal leaves which is usually present when the plant is in flower. There may be additional rosettes of leaves adjacent to the stem.

Basal leaves are large, egg-shaped, inversely egg-shaped, or oblong-elliptic, up to 12 long, and up to 4 wide, 3 to 6 times as long as wide. They are firm and flat. They stand somewhat erect on leaf stalks that are often as long or longer than the blade. The upper and lower surfaces are somewhat rough to the touch due to a moderate to dense covering of short, fine, curved hairs. On the underside there is a single, prominent midvein. The margins are untoothed or may have fine, rounded teeth. Lower stem leaves are similar but smaller and on shorter leaf stalks.

Middle stem leaves are stalkless, thick, fleshy, rigid, egg-shaped, 1¼ to 2 long, about wide, and otherwise similar to the basal leaves. They become progressively smaller as they ascend the stem. The margins of at least the upper stem leaves are untoothed.

The inflorescence is is a loose, open, spreading, flat-topped, corymb-like array of 9 to 190 flower heads at the end of the stem. It is usually 1¼ to 8 long and 2½ to 7 wide, but it can be larger.

The tiny flower heads are large relative to other goldenrods, the disk 3 16 to wide. They have 6 to 14, usually 7 to 10, yellow ray florets and 14 to 35, usually 20 to 30, yellow disk florets.

The fruit is an achene with no hairs at the tip.



24 to 60


Flower Color

Yellow ray florets, yellow disk florets


Similar Species

Stiff goldenrod (Solidago rigida var. humile) is a smaller plant, 10 to 27 in height. The basal leaves are smaller, rarely more than 4¾ long by 2 wide. The inflorescence is tightly clumped, usually rounded, and smaller, usually no more than 5 long and wide. The achene has some short, loose hairs near the tip.


Dry to moderate moisture. Tall-grass and mixed-grass prairies, open woods, roadsides, disturbed sites, open fields. Full sun to partial shade. Sandy or loamy soil.



August to October


Pests and Diseases





Distribution Map



3, 4, 7, 29, 30.






Very common



Plantae (green algae and land plants)


Viridiplantae (green plants)


Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)


Embryophyta (land plants)


Tracheophyta (vascular plants)


Spermatophytina (seed plants)


Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)




Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)


Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, asters, and allies)






Astereae (asters and allies)


Solidago (goldenrod)




Solidago rigida (stiff goldenrod)


Some taxonomist separate the seven flat-topped goldenrod species in the Solidago section Ptarmicoidei as a separate genus Oligoneuron. The Global Compositae Database lists stiff goldenrod as Oligoneuron rigidum, with Solidago rigida a synonym. The Global Compositae Checklist lists it as Solidago rigida, with Oligoneuron rigidum a synonym. USDA PLANTS lists it as Oligoneuron rigidum. Almost all other sources list it as Solidago rigida.


Subordinate Taxa



Aster rigidus

Aster rigidus ssp. rigidus

Leioligo rigida

Oligoneuron grandiflorum

Oligoneuron rigidum

Oligoneuron rigidum var. rigidum

Solidago grandiflora

Solidago rigida

Solidago rigida var. magna

Solidago rigida var. microcephala

Solidago rigida var. rigida


Common Names

prairies bold goldenrod

stiff goldenrod

stiff-leaved goldenrod











A dry, one-chambered, single-seeded fruit, formed from a single carpel, with the seed attached to the membranous outer layer (wall) only by the seed stalk; the wall, formed entirely from the wall of the superior ovary, does not split open at maturity, but relies on decay or predation to release the contents.



A short, sometimes woody, persistent stem, at or below ground level, from which aerial stems arise each year.



A flat-topped or convex inflorescence in which the stalked flowers grow upward from various points on the main stem to approximately the same horizontal plane. The outer flowers open first.

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stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida)   stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida)
stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida)   stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida)
stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida)   stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida)


stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida)   stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida)
stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida)  

Basal Rosette

stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida)   stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida)

Stem Leaves

stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida)    


stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida)   stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida)

Fruiting Head

stiff goldenrod (ssp. rigida)    








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