Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Showy Goldenrod - Solidago speciosa   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 Piedmont; disjunct to Columbus County (Lake Waccamaw). A specimen from Onslow County (Hammocks Beach State Park, specimen at NCU) was checked in 2020 and proved not to be S. speciosa; however it could not be identified to another species with certainty. NOTE: specimens need to be checked vs. S. rigidiuscula.

NH to WI, south to GA, LA, and OK.
AbundanceUncommon to infrequent across the Mountains and Piedmont, occasionally locally numerous. Populations seem to be sparsely distributed. This is a rare case where the editors feel the NCNHP State Rank is too liberal; their S5 should be moved to a less numerous S4, as there as only 31 counties with specimens, and about 5 (at a minimum) with sight records.
HabitatDry to mesic soils of woodland and forest openings, fields, clearings, powerlines, roadsides. The original natural habitat(s) are not known with certainty; most populations tend to grow in "typical goldenrod habitats" of grassy/weedy forest edges and fields.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting August-October.
IdentificationShowy Goldenrod is a tall species, typically 3-6 feet, with a densely flowered, short-branched inflorescence that is elliptical to narrowly conical in outline. Stems and leaves are smooth, and the branches are generally short-hairy. Basal and lower stem leaves are short-stalked, elliptical, about 2 inches wide but can be 6-8 inches long, toothed (or not); stem leaves are gradually smaller, mainly sessile, and lack teeth. In the field this plant looks like S. erecta, but is taller, and has broader, more crowded, and showier inflorescences. When a stand is seen, in bloom, it is a quite spectacular sight, owing to the often impressive height of the plants and dense flower clusters.
Taxonomic CommentsNone

Other Common Name(s)Noble Goldenrod
State RankS5 [S4]
Global RankG5
State Status
US Status
County Map - click on a county to view source of record.
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B.A. SorrieMoore County, same data. MoorePhoto_natural
B.A. SorrieMoore County, 2018, piedmont, mafic soil area in powerline, Cool Springs Road. MoorePhoto_natural

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