Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
ASTER FAMILY (Compositae or Asteraceae)
IND. STATUS: FACW
FIELD CHARACTERISTICS: A clonal, perennial herb 25-200 cm. high. Leaves of the lower and upper stem tend to be similar, triple-nerved, and not rough. The stem is perfectly smooth below the inflorescence, often glaucous, and reddish (may be green in shaded habitats). The stem is not angled. The inflorescence is usually a one- sided, arching panicle. Flowers are yellow. In flower from August to October. This species may hybridize with tall goldenrod (Solidago altissima), an upland species. These hybrids are often sparsely hairy on the stem below the inflorescence. In winter, these species are noteworthy for their conspicuous round insect galls on the stem. Refer to Appendix A for a key to wetland goldenrods.
ECOLOGICAL NOTES: Giant goldenrod is our most common goldenrod in fresh (wet) meadows and sedge meadows and is one of the most common forbs encountered in the upland/wetland transition zone. It also occurs in shaded floodplains, shrub-carrs, wet to wet-mesic prairies, and calcareous fens.
SOURCE: Gleason and Cronquist (1991); and Swink and Wilhelm (1994).