Overview

Comprehensive Description

Comments

As the common and scientific names imply, this plant is very showy while in bloom. Showy Goldenrod can be distinguished from other goldenrods that occur in Illinois prairies by the following characteristics, when they are considered together
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Description

This native perennial plant is usually unbranched and up to 4' tall. The smooth central stem can be green or reddish. The alternate leaves are up to 6" long and 1½" wide, becoming slightly smaller as they ascend up the stem. They are narrowly lanceolate or oblong-elliptic, smooth along their margins, and largely devoid of hairs. In the upper half of the plant, there are often small leaves that develop from the upper axils of the primary leaves; they have a wing-like appearance. The showy inflorescence is up to 1' long, consisting of an erect panicle of small yellow compound flowers. The flowering stems don't curve outward and downward like many other goldenrods, but are held erect or curve upward. Each compound flower is about ¼" across, consisting of 4-10 ray florets surrounding the disk florets. The spacing of the ray florets tends to be irregular, and they may not open at the same time. These flowers occasionally have a mild fragrance. The blooming period occurs during late summer or early fall, and lasts about a month. Later, the achenes develop small tufts of hairs, and are dispersed by the wind. The root system is fibrous and rhizomatous, occasionally forming vegetative offsets. In older mature plants, a woody caudex develops. Cultivation
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© John Hilty

Source: Illinois Wildflowers

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Distribution

National Distribution

Canada

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

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Physical Description

Morphology

Description

Plants (30–)50–200 cm; caudices stout, woody. Stems 1(–5), erect, glabrous proximally to strigillose in arrays. Leaves: basal and proximal cauline (sometimes withering by flowering) tapering to winged petioles, blades lanceolate to ovate-elliptic, 50–300 (including petiole) × 12–80 mm (sometimes firm), margins sharply serrate to crenate or entire, faces glabrate to sparsely strigillose; mid to distal cauline sessile, blades narrowly ovate to lanceolate or elliptic, 25–90 × 5–30 mm, gradually reduced distally, margins serrulate to entire (distally), ciliate , faces glabrous or sparsely scabroso-strigose. Heads 15–300+ , not secund, in usually dense, sometimes open, elongate, paniculiform to thyrsiform arrays, (5–)10–45 × (2–)3–7(–12) cm; branches strongly ascending, often racemiform. Peduncles 1.5–3 mm, sparsely to moderately scabroso-strigillose; bracteoles linear, grading into phyllaries, scattered along peduncles, clustered near heads. Involucres narrowly campanulate, 4–6.5 mm. Phyllaries in 3–4 series, appressed, strongly unequal, outer ovate, mid and inner lanceolate, (midnerves often raised and thick) apices acute to obtuse or rounded, glabrous. Ray florets (2–)3–7(–9); laminae 3–4 × 0.5–1 mm. Disc florets 6–16; corollas 2.5–4 mm, lobes 0.5–1.2 mm. Cypselae (narrowly obconic) 1.6–2.5 mm, glabrous; pappi 3–4.5 mm.
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© Missouri Botanical Garden, 4344 Shaw Boulevard, St. Louis, MO, 63110 USA

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Diagnostic Description

Synonym

Aster speciosus (Nuttall) Kuntze
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Ecology

Associations

Flower-Visiting Insects of Showy Goldenrod in Illinois

Solidago speciosa (Showy Goldenrod)
(Bees suck nectar or collect pollen; flies suck nectar or feed on pollen; other insects suck nectar; observations are from Robertson, Reed, Hilty, Grundel & Pavlovic, and Swengel & Swengel as indicated below)

Bees (long-tongued)
Apidae (Apinae): Apis mellifera sn fq (Rb, Re); Apidae (Bombini): Bombus affinis (Re), Bombus auricomus sn (Rb), Bombus griseocallis (Re), Bombus impatiens sn (Rb, Re), Bombus pensylvanica sn fq (Rb), Bombus vagans (Re), Psithyrus ashtoni sn (Re), Psithyrus variabilis sn (Rb); Anthophoridae (Epeolini): Epeolus scutellaris sn (Re); Megachilidae (Coelioxini): Coelioxys octodentata sn (Re); Megachilidae (Megachilini): Megachile latimanus (Re)

Bees (short-tongued)
Halictidae (Halictinae): Lasioglossum spp. (Re), Lasioglossum heterognathus (Re), Lasioglossum pilosus (Re); Colletidae (Colletinae): Colletes simulans armata cp olg (Re); Andrenidae (Andreninae): Andrena hirticincta cp olg (Re), Andrena nubecula cp olg (Re), Andrena placata cp olg (Re); Andrenidae (Panurginae): Heterosarus nebrascensis (Re)

Wasps
Scoliidae: Campsomeris ephippium (Re); Tiphiidae: Myzinum maculata (Re); Vespidae: Dolichovespula arenaria (Re), Polistes fuscata (Rb, Re), Vespula vidua (Re); Vespidae (Eumeninae): Eumenes crucifera (Re); Braconidae: Chelonus sericeus (Re)

Flies
Syrphidae: Eristalis dimidiatus (Re), Eristalis stipator (Re), Helophilus fasciatus (Re); Tachinidae: Archytas sp. (Re)

Butterflies
Nymphalidae: Vanessa cardui (Re), Vanessa virginiensis (Rb); Lycaenidae: Lycaeides melissa samuelis fq (GP, Sw)

Moths
Ctenuchidae: Cisseps fulvicollis fq (Rb, Re)

Beetles
Cantharidae: Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus sn fq (Rb); Meloidae: Epicauta pensylvanica sn fq (Rb, H)

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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

Canada

Rounded National Status Rank: N1 - Critically Imperiled

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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Notes

Comments

Solidago speciosa occurs scattered throughout its range, often in small populations. Five races have been acknowledged; only three varieties appear to warrant recognition. The species is divided into two nearly allopatric subspecies. The typical subspecies includes two varieties that are sometimes difficult to distinguish and considerably overlap in their ranges. The differences in size and number of leaves and persistence of the proximal cauline leaves may be caused in part by growing conditions.
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