Solidago ulmifolia (Elm-leaved Goldenrod)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, shade, sun; dry woods
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:2 to 4 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 4-petals Flower shape: 5-petals Cluster type: panicle Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers] Small yellow flowers in tightly packed clusters, typically elongated and slender, the few branched raceme-like panicles open, airy and arching outward like a fireworks display, though sometimes the clusters are shorter and more pyramidal.

[photo of 1-sided branch] The flowers are less than ¼ inch tall with only 3 to 6 rays (petals), and situated along one side of the stem (secund). Along the opposite side of the stem are narrow leafy bracts, variously hairy and becoming smaller and less numerous as they ascend the stem.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are thin, the early low ones oval elliptic, 2 to 4 inches long and ½ to 2¼ inches wide, with large irregular sharp teeth, a pointed tip, and sharply tapered into a short winged stalk. Lower leaves wither away early (deciduous). Mid and upper stem leaves are stalkless, lance oval with sharp teeth, sparsely hairy on the lower surface and more so on the major veins, and reducing slightly in size as they ascend the stem. Stems are unbranched except in the flower cluster, and mostly smooth but may have long sparse hairs in the upper plant. Plants tend to lean over from the weight of the flowers.


Elm-leaved Goldenrod only inhabits woodlands from the metro into the southeast counties. It is easily distinguishable at a distance by its loosely branching flower clusters and its relatively broad, sharply toothed leaves that extend to the upper stem. It has a preference for light shade and somewhat dry conditions but can do quite well in sunnier or moister locations. There are 2 varieties in North America with var. ulmifolia in Minnesota; the other, var. palmeri, is a more southern species.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Whitewater WMA and State Park, Winona County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Winona County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Ruth Nissen - LaCrescent- Stoney point
on: 2021-08-26 08:10:56

Border of woods and goat prairie

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