Solidago juncea (Early Goldenrod)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; dry prairies, roadsides, open woods|
|Bloom season:||June - September|
|Plant height:||18 to 48 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||none|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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The flower cluster of this goldenrod has broadly spreading panicles often arching down but sometimes somewhat erect, often as wide as it is tall and generally pyramidal in shape. The small yellow flowers are all on the upper side of a branch (secund) and are between 1/10 and ¼ inch tall with 7 to 12 yellow rays (petals).
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are predominantly basal, mostly smooth with a shiny luster though sometimes have a rough texture, toothless to finely toothed, often with short fine hairs around the edges. Basal leaves are up to 12 inches long and 2 inches wide, with broader lance-oval blades on a long, tapered, winged stalk. Stem leaves become more lance-linear, stalkless and often curve downward, with smaller leaves clustered in the axils in the upper stem. Stems are mostly unbranched except in the flower cluster, typically smooth throughout though very fine, short hairs may be present in the cluster itself.
Early Goldenrod is strictly a northern species in Minnesota and has never been observed as far south as the seven county metro. As its name suggests, it begins flowering earlier than just about all others, most not starting until late July or even August. While this can be an aid in identification early in the season, other characteristics must be focused on when other goldenrods enter into the fray. Look for the dense cluster of basal leaves with significantly fewer and smaller leaves on the stem as well as the small clusters of leaves in the upper axils. The entire plant should be smooth except for sparse fine hairs in the panicle itself.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken along Hwy 64 in Cass County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Lake County.
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