Early Goldenrod

Featured Photo Credit: Fritzflohrreynolds, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Early Goldenrod, also known as Solidago juncea, is a herbaceous perennial wildflower of the family Asteraceae. Once started, it requires little maintenance and grows quickly. It thrives on ordinary, dry to medium, well-drained soil in full sun, and it can withstand poor, dry soils, especially soil with a lot of clay. It is a tolerant plant that is frequently found in open woodlands, on rocky banks, or along the wayside. 

Quick Growing Guide

Botanical Name: Solidago juncea

Botanical Family: Asteraceae

En français: verge d’or précoce

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Early Goldenrod is occasionally held responsible for the hay fever-causing pollen, although ragweed (Ambrosia species), whose pollen is airborne when Goldenrod is in bloom, is actually to blame for the pollen and associated grating symptoms.

As its common name implies, this Goldenrod blooms among the earliest, starting in July and lasting into August. It has a delicate appearance and is a lovely, slen,der shrub. Remove spent flower clusters in order to prolong the blooming season. 

Early Goldenrod produces a profusion of tiny, bright yellow flowers in dense panicles that resemble plumes at the tips of stiff, narrow-leaved stems that normally reach heights of 2 to 4 feet. The plant can take over a small area and is resilient. Every two years, divide plant clumps to control growth. This particular plant can be mistaken for one of its several cousins because the genus Solidago comprises over 120 species with comparable characteristics and, flowers. Early Goldenrod has a mediocre deer resistance.

Flowers

The flower cluster of this Goldenrod contains broadly spreading panicles with up to 450 flower heads, occasionally more, that are typically pyramidal in shape, often as wide as they are tall, and occasionally quite erect. On occasion, the entire cluster will tilt to one side. Flowers are around 14 inches, with 7 to 12 petals (ray flowers) typically encircling an 8 to 15 flower disc in the center.

Three or four layers of short, hairless, lance-shaped, yellowish-green bracts (phyllaries) surround the base of the bloom; each bract is 3 to 4 mm (to 1/6 inch) long. The inner phyllaries range from being pointed to rounded, while the outside ones are generally pointed at the tip. Flowers are arranged on one side of the branch (second) and have stalks that are longer or shorter than the involucre. Typically hairless, they can occasionally have stray hairs on them.

Fruit, Leaves, and Appearance

The upper surface of the leaves has a lustrous shine, while they can occasionally have a somewhat rough feel. The leaves are both basal and alternating. Hairless save from a fringe of short, fine hairs around the margins. The basal and lower stem leaves have broad, lance-elliptic to spatula-shaped blades that are pointed at the tip and taper to a long, winged stalk that is typically serrated around the edges. Lower leaves last through flowering and have more than three major veins, with the midvein conspicuous and the lateral veins either prominent or not, and more than three major veins. I

As they move up the stem, stem leaves are smaller, lance-shaped, stalkless, frequently toothless, and typically have clusters of tiny leaves (fascicles) at the higher axils. On the highest leaves, the midvein is visible, while the lateral veins are typically hidden. 

The stems are upright to ascending, unbranched outside of the flower cluster, and usually smooth throughout; however, there may be a few very small, dispersed hairs lower on the stem or in the cluster branches. From underground elongating rhizomes, stems grow alone or in groups of several, generating small, loose colonies of blooming plants mixed with basal leaf clumps of non-flowering plants that can occasionally create larger colonies.

Fruit is an oblong to narrowly cone-shaped seed (achene) that is brown, sparsely haired, and has a tuft of light brown hair (pappus) that is 2.5 to 3.5 mm long and connected at the tip to help it fly away in the wind.

Cultivation and Habitat

Full to partial sun and moderately to gently dry conditions are preferred. If the soil is generally well-drained, moist circumstances can be endured. This plant doesn’t care much about the soil’s composition, which can include loam, clay, sand, or gravel. The foliar disease typically doesn’t become an issue until after flowering, when mildew and other illnesses could start to manifest.

Early Goldenrod is a natural plant that grows in most counties across North America. Rare to regularly occurring locally. Black soil grasslands with mesic to slightly dry conditions, sand prairies, gravel prairies, oak savannas, thickets, open regions of rocky upland woodlands, sunny waste areas, and abandoned fields are all places where early Goldenrod can be found. In these environments, it blooms earlier than any other goldenrod in North America.

In the Nature

Like other goldenrods, this plant draws a variety of insects to its blossoms, including Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus and various beetles, butterflies, moths, flies, long- and long- short-tongued bees, wasps, and flies (Goldenrod Soldier Beetle). While the adults of Cirrhophanus triangulifer, or the “Goldenrod Stowaway Moth,” enjoy hiding in the blooms, numerous moth larvae feed on the foliage and other parts of this goldenrod plant.

Other insects, such as lace bugs, seed beetles, leafhoppers, and Lygus lineolaris, consume this and other species of Goldenrod (Tarnished Plant Bug). The Eastern Goldfinch, Tree Sparrow, and Swamp Sparrow eat the seeds to a lesser amount, while the Greater Prairie Chicken may eat the foliage. If there aren’t many other options, mammalian herbivores may eat the foliage, including White-Tailed Deer, groundhogs, cottontail rabbits, and livestock.

Other Goldenrods

Discover the differences among many these goldenrods.

They each have their own uniqueness.

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