showy goldenrod

(Solidago speciosa var. speciosa)

Conservation Status
showy goldenrod (var. speciosa)
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5? - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed


Showy goldenrod (var.speciosa) is a 8 to 60 tall, erect, perennial forb that rises on 1 to 5 stems from a stout, woody caudex in mature plants, from rhizome in young plants. It tends to form clumps.

The stems are erect, leafy, green or reddish, hairless from the base to the inflorescence, and minutely hairy in the inflorescence.

Basal and stem leaves are dark green and are not glaucous. Stem leaves are alternate, smooth to the touch, not crowded, and not firm. Basal and lower stem leaves are broad, inversely lance-shaped or inversely egg-shaped, with the attachment at the narrow end. Basal leaves are 2 to 12 long including a short leaf stalk, and 1 to 2 wide. The margins are often coarsely toothed. They are usually present at flowering. The upper surface is almost hairless. Middle stem leaves are narrowly egg-shaped to lance-shaped or elliptic, 1 to 3½ long, and ¾ to 1 wide, becoming smaller as they ascend the stem. They are attached to the stem without a leaf stalk. The margins on the middle leaves are finely toothed, becoming untoothed near the top of the stem. The upper surface is hairless and smooth to the touch. On the upper half of the plant small, wing-like leaves appear in the leaf axils.

The inflorescence is a dense, 4 to 12 long, 1 to 3½ wide spike with 15 to 300 flower heads. The flowering stems of the inflorescence curve upward rather than out and down.

The flower head has 6 to 8 yellow ray florets and 7 to 9 yellow disk florets.




8 to 60


Flower Color


Yellow ray flowers, yellow disk flowers


Similar Species


The 12, showy flower spike makes showy goldenrod one of the more easily recognized goldenrod species.

Showy goldenrod (Solidago speciosa var. rigidiuscula) has much narrower leaves. Basal leaves are usually absent at flowering. The stem leaves are rough to the touch, crowded, and firm.


Dry to moderate moisture. Open woods, fields, prairies, and plains. Full sun. Sandy or loamy soil.




Late July or early August to early October


Pests and Diseases






Distribution Map



4, 7.









  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)  
  Genus Solidago (goldenrod)  
  Section Solidago  
  Subsection Squarrosae  
  Species Solidago speciosa (showy goldenrod)  
  Subspecies Solidago speciosa ssp. speciosa (showy goldenrod)  

Species Rank
Based on a recent study (Semple et al. 2017), Plants of the World Online (POWO) elevated the varieties and subspecies of Solidago speciosa to species level. It is widely expected that other taxonomic authorities will soon follow suit, but as of this writing (3/21/2021) they have not.

As of 3/11/2024, Catalog of Life, GBIF, NCBI, and World Flora Online have followed Plants of the World Online in elevating the subspecies and varieties of Solidago speciosa to full species rank.


Subordinate Taxa






Solidago conferta

Solidago harperi

Solidago jejunifolia

Solidago speciosa var. angustata

Solidago speciosa var. jejunifolia

Solidago uliginosa var. jejunifolia


Common Names


showy 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.



Pale green or bluish gray due to a whitish, powdery or waxy film, as on a plum or a grape.

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  showy goldenrod (var. speciosa)   showy goldenrod (var. speciosa)
  showy goldenrod (var. speciosa)   showy goldenrod (var. speciosa)


  showy goldenrod (var. speciosa)   showy goldenrod (var. speciosa)
  showy goldenrod (var. speciosa)   showy goldenrod (var. speciosa)


  showy goldenrod (var. speciosa)    






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