Floridata Plant Encyclopedia

A Floridata Plant Profile 1298 Solidago rugosa

Common Names: rough goldenrod,wrinkleleaf goldenrod,rough stemmed goldenrod Family: Asteraceae (aster/daisy Family)
Image Gallery

rough goldenrod
This is the rough goldenrod cultivar 'Fireworks' in bloom, a shorter more compact plant than the species.


Rough goldenrod is an herbaceous perennial whose arching stems become woody near their bases. This a highly variable goldenrod species, so add the word “usually” before each statement: The stems are rough and hairy, and positively crowded with oval to elliptic leaves 3-5 in (7-12 cm) in length. Leaves appear wrinkled due to the deeply recessed featherlike veins. The leaves have toothed margins and are hairy beneath, scabrous above. A large, showy panicle of golden yellow flowerheads nods at the end of the main stem, with smaller panicles on side stems. Each of the flowerheads is about 1/8 in (3 mm) across and consists of 5-11 tiny ray florets and 4-8 tiny disk florets. An involucre of yellowish green scale-like bracts subtends each flowerhead. The fruit is a bullet shaped achene with a tuft of short hairs on one end. The long creeping rhizomes give rise to golden colonies that wave in the autumn breeze. Rough goldenrod get 3-6 ft (1-2 m) tall.

You can distinguish rough goldenrod from other goldenrod species by (1) its main stem which is more hairy than that of other species; (2) the wrinkled appearance of the leaves, and (3) the absence of 3 prominent parallel leaf veins that characterize the leaves of most other goldenrods.

Two subspecies and several varieties are recognized across rough goldenrod’s wide range. ‘Fireworks’ is a commercially available selection that stays a little shorter and more compact than typical specimens, yet still has large flower clusters.


Solidago rugosa occurs intermittently across most of eastern North America from Ontario, south to East Texas, and east to the Atlantic Coast, but is most abundant in the northeastern portion of its range. The species is absent from Peninsular Florida. Look for rough goldenrod in areas with moist, sandy soil, along road shoulders, in thickets, fields and the edges of woods. It often grows in large swaths on formerly cultivated fields that have been fallow for a couple years.


Light:Plant goldenrods in full sun for best flowering. Rough goldenrod tolerates light shade. Moisture: Goldenrods like a sandy, well drained soil that is only moderately fertile. A soil with high fertility will promote rampant vegetative growth with little improvement to flowering. Rough goldenrod tolerates moist soils, even brief flooding, better than some of the other species. Hardiness: USDA Zones 4 - 8 . Propagation: Divide root clumps and split off new plants from along the rhizomes. Sow seed when ripe in autumn. Propagate the cultivar with stem cuttings. Rough goldenrod will self seed and spread vegetatively under good conditions.

rough goldenrod
Use rough goldenrod in mixed borders, rain gardens and naturalizing gardens.


Grow rough goldenrod in the semi-wild or naturalizing garden. In a more formal setting, goldenrod is best suited to the mixed border. Rough goldenrod is a good plant for the rain garden. It spreads, but not as aggressively as other goldenrod species. Goldenrod looks good with other fall bloomers such as asters and ornamental grasses. Individual plants may require staking. Goldenrod is prized as a cut flower.

Butterflies flock to the waving golden manes in autumn, and birds to the seeds in winter.


There are about a hundred species of goldenrods found in North and South America and in Eurasia. Few of the wild species are cultivated, but there are several named hybrids of garden origin that are especially popular in Europe. The hybrids (whose parents usually include Canada goldenrod, Solidago canadensis) are less invasive and even more showy than most of the wild species. American gardeners would do well to take more notice of these low maintenance, colorful fall flowers.

Goldenrods are NOT the cause of hay fever, although they are widely blamed for it. Blooming at the same time in autumn as the goldenrods, ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia) is the guilty party that produces the wind borne pollen that causes sniffling and sneezing in many people. The larger pollen grains of goldenrod are carried between flowers by insects, not the wind.

Steve Christman 10/6/17

Master Plant List

Click here to find plants in our Encyclopedia using the Master Plant List grid. Use this widget to search, sort and filter Floridata's plant database to easily locate Plant Profile pages. Use the dropdown menus to filter the grid to display items matching the selected Plant Type and Feature tags.

Plant Type Tags

tree icon
shrub icon
perennial plant icon
aquatic plant icon
cactus and succulents icon
grass icon
vine icon

Feature Tags

Attracts Birds
Attracts butterflies
Attracts Hummingbirds
Edible Plants
Cutting and Arranging
for pots and containers
drought tolerant plants
grows in wet soils
ornamental fruits
fall color
foliage plants
easy to grow plants
fast growing

Site Search

Use Google to search all of the pages on Floridata including the Plant Profile pages

Solidago species profiled on Floridata:

Solidago odora

( common goldenrod, anise-scented goldenrod, blue mountain tea, sweet goldenrod, fragrant goldenrod, true goldenrod )

Solidago rugosa

( rough goldenrod,wrinkleleaf goldenrod,rough stemmed goldenrod )

Solidago sempervirens

( seaside goldenrod,saltmarsh goldenrod )

More Floridata:

Copyright 2015 Floridata.com LLC