Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Downy Goldenrod - Solidago puberula   Nuttall
Members of Asteraceae:
Members of Solidago with account distribution info or public map:
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Section 6 » Order Asterales » Family Asteraceae
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DistributionMountains and upper Piedmont; disjunct east to Alamance and Cabarrus counties. Note that this is a split of the old "S. puberula", which included most of the Coastal Plain; that form is now S. puberulenta.

N.S. to southern Ont., south to GA and TN.
AbundanceGenerally uncommon to infrequent in the Mountains and nearby foothills; very rare east to Cabarrus County. This species is on the NCNHP Watch List. There seem to be enough counties and records for the species to be moved from a State Rank of S2 to S3.
HabitatDry to mesic soils of pine-deciduous woodlands and forest openings, rocky slopes, clearings, fields, roadsides. There is much confusion of the habitats, as RAB (1968) lists only wetland habitats for it -- "Bogs, wet meadows, and wet woodlands"; and Weakley (2018) says "Bogs, wet meadows, and wet pastures, in dry acidic soils in VA and WV". Most of the NC specimen labels in SERNEC are from upland sites, though a few are from bogs and other wetlands. In addition, most references indicate it being a species of sandy, dry, and/or rocky soils.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting August-October.
IdentificationDowny Goldenrod grows 1.5-3 feet tall, the stems and leaves covered with tiny whitish hairs that usually give the plant a grayish-green tone. The inflorescence is elliptical (to narrowly conical) in outline and tapered to both ends. In the field it resembles S. erecta and S. roanensis, but those plants are smooth (glabrous) at least below mid-stem. S. speciosa is usually much taller (3-6 feet) and its involucral bracts have rounded tips (vs. attenuate); it has a broader and more conical inflorescence. Its closest ally is S. pulverulenta, which differs in more leaves per stem (50-100+ vs. 20-60 in S. puberula) and shorter leaves (less than 4 cm long vs. 4-5 cm long in S. puberula). S. pulverulenta is limited in NC to the Coastal Plain and southeastern half of the Piedmont, though both have been recorded in Cabarrus County.
Taxonomic CommentsSolidago pulverulenta has been treated as a variety or a subspecies by some authors. See paper by Semple et al. (2020), in which the authors treat it as full species.

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS2 [S3]
Global RankG5
State StatusW7 [W1]
US Status
USACE-agcpFACU link
USACE-empFACU link
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