Two Winter Goldenrods

by Carl Strang

In recent weeks I have been comparing the dead stems of some winter forbs to their appearance when in bloom. I have a couple more today, and then probably will adjourn the topic until next winter. Earlier I addressed northeast Illinois’ most abundant goldenrod species, the tall goldenrod. Today I will review two more members of genus Solidago. When in bloom, stiff goldenrod’s flowers look like this.

The leaves are thick, rounded and stubby, on relatively stout stems. This species is a prairie goldenrod, often a prairie indicator because its unpalatability to livestock kept it around when other native prairie plants were consumed to local extinction. Here it is in winter.

The second goldenrod is a woodland species. Elm-leaved goldenrod’s flower sprays remind me of fireworks, meteors or comets.

In winter that color is gone, but the plant still has an interesting, distinctive appearance.

I enjoy studying winter botany, but the time has arrived to look for the new year’s new flowers.


1 Comment

  1. May 10, 2010 at 6:03 am

    […] most recently comparing some winter plants with the same species in bloom. One of these was the elm-leaved goldenrod. Here it is as it begins to grow in […]

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