Goldenrods are fibrous-rooted perennial herbs with a rhizome or root crown, bearing simple, alternate, entire or variously toothed leaves and few to mostly numerous, generally small, bell-shaped to almost cylindric flowerheads. The flowerheads have rays (in all our species) or very rarely disk flowers only, the rays being female and fertile, yellow in color (or in one extralimital species white). The involucral bracts are more or less partly overlapping in several series, or rarely about equal in length, more or less paper-textured at the base, commonly with a more or less herb-like green tip. The receptacle is small, flat or a little convex, and naked. The disk flowers have both stamens and pistils, and are fertile, yellow in color. The anthers are entire or nearly so at the base. The style branches are flattened, with inward-facing marginal stigma-bearing lines and, on the outside, minutely hairy, mostly lanceolate appendages. The achenes are hairless or hairy, almost cylindrical or angled, and several-nerved. The pappus consists of numerous equal or sometimes unequal hair-like bristles, which are usually white. The genus consists of nearly a hundred species worldwide, native mainly to N. America, a few species extending into S. America and a few others into Eurasia. Solidago is far more complex in the e. U.S. than elsewhere. The name comes from the Latin solidus and ago, to make whole, referring to reputed healing properties.
Guide to Identify Presented Species of Genus Solidago
BASAL LEAVES NOT WELL DEVELOPED
S. gigantea Giant Goldenrod Plant robust, leafy, 30-150 cm tall. Moist, open to shaded places in the valleys.
Flowerheads yellow, with 10-17 rays, 1-3 mm long, in dense pyramidal clusters.
Leaves alternate, crowded, lance-shaped, usually sharply toothed, stalkless.