This perennial plant is unbranched and about ½-2½' tall. The central stem is reddish or grayish green, terete, and densely covered with short white hairs. The alternate leaves are up to 4" long and ¾" across, becoming smaller as they ascend the stem. They are grayish green, narrowly lanceolate, elliptic, or oblanceolate in shape, tapering gradually to narrow petioles. The leaf margins are smooth (entire) or slightly serrate, while the leaf surfaces are canescent. In addition, there are usually small clusters of secondary leaves that are located along the axils of middle to upper leaves. These secondary leaves are much smaller in size than the alternate leaves, otherwise they are similar in appearance. The central stem terminates in a narrow inflorescence that is shaped like a wand, becoming gradually wider in the middle, and it has a tendency to nod. This inflorescence is typically 3-8" long; it is a narrow panicle of flowerheads with short lateral branches. Each flowerhead is up to ¼" across, consisting of 4-10 ray florets that surround a similar number of disk florets. The petaloid rays of the flowerheads are yellow; the tiny tubular corollas of the disk florets are also yellow. Around the base of each flowerhead, there are scale-like floral bracts (phyllaries) in several series; they are usually pale yellow or pale greenish yellow. The blooming period occurs during the fall and lasts about a month. The flowerheads occasionally have a slight fragrance. After the blooming period, the flowerheads are replaced by achenes that develop tufts of hair; they are dispersed by the wind. The root system consists of a small caudex (at least on older plants) with fibrous roots and rhizomes. At suitable locations, Field Goldenrod has a tendency to form clonal colonies.
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