Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Blue Ridge Goldenrod - Solidago spithamaea   M.A. Curtis
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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AuthorM.A. Curtis
DistributionIn NC, restricted to Roan Mountain, Grandfather Mountain, and Hanging Rock Mountain (along the Watauga-Avery county line), according to Weakley (2018); known for certain just in three NC counties. Other records need an ID check.

Endemic to western NC and eastern TN. Known from only about four counties (one in TN) in its entire global range.
AbundanceVery rare in the northern Mountains. However, it is common on Grandfather Mountain, with many sub-populations on this large mountain. Fairly common to common on Roan Mountain, and also one moderate population on Hanging Rock Mountain. Despite being known from just three mountains, there are enough plants and sub-populations that the NCNHP has its State Rank as S2, with which the editors agree. It is a Federal and State Threatened species.
HabitatHigh elevation outcrops and crevices in cliffs, nearly all above 5000 feet elevation. The plants can be easily trampled by hikers and climbers, owing to its small size; though nearly all plants are on protected conservation lands, such accidental human damage is always potentially present.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting mid-August to October.
IdentificationThis is one of our shortest goldenrods, 4 inches to a foot tall, stems essentially pubescent. Leaves are elliptic, margins toothed, tapered to the base and tip, lower ones stalked, but upper ones sessile. The leaf upper surface is smooth to somewhat rough. The inflorescence is short and dome-shaped to nearly flat-topped. Its size and extreme habitat (high elevation exposed rocks) make it unlikely to misidentify, except possibly as dwarfed plants of some other species. Despite it being globally very rare, it can be easily seen on Grandfather and Roan mountains, without having to do any rock climbing or extensive hiking to see the plants -- as paved roads reach the necessary elevations where many populations can be found very close to your car. It often grows next to the rare Heller's Blazing-star (Liatris helleri).
Taxonomic CommentsBelongs to a group of arctic-alpine goldenrods that get no closer to NC than New England, NY, and CO.

Other Common Name(s)None
State RankS2
Global RankG2
State StatusT
US StatusLT
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