gray goldenrod

(Solidago nemoralis ssp. nemoralis)

Conservation Status


No image available

  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Gray goldenrod (ssp. nemoralis) is one of the smallest goldenrods. It is an erect, perennial forb that rises on 1 to 10 aerial stems, but usually no more than 6, from a short-branched, woody, stem (caudex).

The aerial stems are erect and covered with short grayish or whitish, ascending or appressed hairs, causing the stem to appear grayish.

Basal and lower stem leaves are inversely lance-shaped (oblanceolate) or inversely egg-shaped with the attachment at the narrow end. They are ¾ to 3¾ long, ¼ to wide and taper near the base to long, winged leaf stalks. They taper near the tip to a point with straight sides along the tip. The margins usually have rounded teeth. The upper surface is covered with fine, grayish or whitish hairs. The midvein is conspicuous, the lateral veins are feather-like.

Stem leaves are alternate. Middle and upper stem leaves are attached to the stem without a stalk. They are linear-oblanceolate, to 1¾ long, to ¼ wide, becoming gradually smaller as they ascend the stem. The margins are untoothed. There are usually winged leaflets at the axils of the upper leaves.

The inflorescence is a 4 to 10 long array. It is shaped like a wand, wider in the middle, and usually arching downward 90° to 180°. It has 10 to 300 flower heads appearing on one side.

The flowers are about ¼ across with 5 to 11 yellow ray florets 3 to 10 yellow disk florets. The whorl of bracts at the base of the flower head is no more than 1 6 wide.




6 to 30


Flower Color


Yellow ray florets, yellow disk florets


Similar Species


Elm-leaved goldenrod (Solidago ulmifolia) is a taller, more robust plant. It has an erect stem with a few spreading flowering branches at the top. The stem and leaves are mostly hairless. The flower branches are much narrower than the flower cluster of gray goldenrod. The flowers have 3 to 5 minute rays.

Gray goldenrod (Solidago nemoralis var. decemflora) has basal leaves that are often linear-oblanceolate. The margins usually do not have rounded teeth. The whorl of bracts at the base of the flower head is from a little more than 1 6 to almost ¼ wide.

Showy goldenrod (Solidago speciosa var. rigidiuscula) is a taller, more robust plant. The stem and leaves are mostly hairless. The flowering spike has flowers on all sides of the central stem, usually on crowded, stiffly ascending branches. The flower has 6 to 8 ray florets and 7 to 9 disk florets.


Dry. Woods, prairies, and open places. Sandy soil.




August to October


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



4, 7, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Asterales (sunflowers, bellflowers, fanflowers, and allies)  


Asteraceae (sunflowers, daisies, asters, and allies)  
  Subfamily Asteroideae  
  Supertribe Asterodae  
  Tribe Astereae (asters and allies)  
  Subtribe Solidagininae  
  Genus Solidago (goldenrods)  
  Subgenus Nemorales  
  Species Solidago nemoralis (gray goldenrod)  

Subordinate Taxa






Solidago nemoralis ssp. haleana

Solidago nemoralis var. haleana

Solidago nemoralis var. nemoralis


Common Names


dyer’s-weed goldenrod

dyersweed goldenrod

field goldenrod

gray goldenrod

gray-stem goldenrod

gray-stemmed goldenrod

old field goldenrod

old-field goldenrod










The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.



A short, sometimes woody, persistent stem, at or below ground level, from which aerial stems arise each year.



Long, straight, and narrow, with more or less parallel sides, like a blade of grass.



Reverse lanceolate; much longer than wide, thickest toward the tip, and gradually tapering toward the base.


Winged leaf stalk

A leaf-like or membrane-like extension along both sides of the leaf stalk.

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