Euthamia graminifolia (Grass-leaved Goldenrod)

Plant Info
Also known as: Flat-top Goldentop, Lance-leaved Goldenrod
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; moist to wet, sandy to gravelly soil; meadows, ditches, fens, shores
Bloom season:July - September
Plant height:2 to 4 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FAC
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: indistinct Cluster type: flat

[photo of flowers] Dense, semi-round to flat-topped clusters of 20 to 35 small, yellow flowers at tips of stems and branches throughout the crown. Individual flowers are cylindrical, 1/8 inch or less across with 15 to 25 minute, barely spreading rays (petals) and 5 to 10 central disk flowers.

[photo of bracts] Most heads are typically stalkless and the outside bracts are green at the tip, smooth or occasionally lightly sticky.

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

[photo of leaves] Leaves are simple and alternate, narrowly lance-shaped to linear, 1½ to 5 inches long and 1/8 to ½ inch wide, with 3 evident veins on larger leaves and occasionally 2 additional obscure veins. The tips are gently tapered to a sharp point and the bases are stalkless. Surfaces are smooth or with very short, cilia type hairs, especially along the edges and major veins on the underside. Glandular dots (hand lens required) on the surfaces are sparse and obscure. Stems are mostly smooth except for thin rows of fine white hairs. Stems are unbranched on the lower stem but typically have few to many erect, leafy branches in the upper plant, creating a bushy crown.


Grass-leaved Goldenrod can be distinguished from other Goldenrods (Solidago spp.) by its narrow leaves, bushier tops and typically smaller and more numerous flower clusters. This species is very similar and easily confused with Great Plains Goldenrod (Euthamia gymnospermoides), which is distinguished by its single prominent vein on the leaves, its smaller flower clusters with most flowers having short stalks, and its preference for drier prairie habitats. Some references list a few varieties of E. graminifolia but, according to Flora of North America, the differences are not consistent enough to be reliably separated and are therefore not recognized in Minnesota.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Sucker Lake, Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Blaine and other locations in Anoka County..


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

Posted by: Paul - Collegeville MN, St. John's University
on: 2013-09-18 21:19:22

In the last week of August, while combing the shore of Swenson Lake in Beltrami County, I enjoyed watching the bees work the grass-leaved goldenrod and taking some casual photos of individual bees as they kept busy with the blossoms. I also checked my old Moyle and Moyle guide (University of Minnesota 1977)

Posted by: Jonathan - Edina
on: 2015-07-05 21:20:32

I have a dense colony, many plants over four feet tall, in full sun at the edge of the marsh adjoining my prairie planting. As of today, 7-5-15, it is not yet in bloom.

Posted by: Kenny h - Shooting Star Trail West of Rose Creek
on: 2017-08-31 14:11:27

I really like this plant...very stunning when it grows in dense clusters...can easily be found on Shooting Star Trail

Posted by: Lynn - Minneapolis
on: 2017-09-11 18:56:03

I think I have a grouping of it in my yard. My husband found some old wildflower seeds and put them on a dirt pile in our yard.

Posted by: Erin Maher - Franconia Township, Chisago County
on: 2020-08-29 19:28:09

I have several specimens of this plant growing in a mixed prairie/oak savanna area on my farm. It is growing in small clusters next to showy goldenrod, common milkweed and asters.

Posted by: Raquel - Minneapolis
on: 2021-07-13 11:41:53

We had some old wildflower seeds that turned out to be grass-leaved goldenrod. Some goldenrod, as you know, can take over your garden but I've read that grass-leaved variety do not. However, I would like to know how and when to prune them. They've grown extremely tall and bushy and I'm wondering if I should have planted them at the edge of our woods instead! When can I cut them back? They are no longer blooming...

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2021-07-14 08:18:13

Raquel, if they are done blooming for the season in mid-July, then it unlikely to be grass-leaved goldenrod, which, like most goldenrods, is a late summer bloomer and doesn't even start blooming until at least the end of July or beginning of August. If you would like confirmation on the ID, post some images on the Minnesota Wildflowers Facebook page.

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