1298 Solidago rugosaCommon Names: rough goldenrod,wrinkleleaf goldenrod,rough stemmed goldenrod Family: Asteraceae (aster/daisy Family)
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.
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