Solidago hispida (Hairy Goldenrod)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; sandy or gravelly soil; open dry woods, rocky outcrops, dunes
Bloom season:August - October
Plant height:18 to 36 inches
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: 7+petals Cluster type: raceme Cluster type: spike

[photo of flowers] Flowers are densely clustered, typically in a tall, narrow spike-like column up to 12 inches long at the top of the plant, which is made up of short racemes of a few to several flowers arising from leaf axils. The yellow flowers are relatively large compared to other goldenrods, up to ¼ inch tall and face out from the branches, the central disk large relative to the 7 to 14 rays (petals) surrounding it. The floral bracts are in 3 or 4 layers, pressed flat, distinctly green-tipped and unequal in size, hairless or somewhat hairy. Stalks are hairy.

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

[photo of leaf underside] Leaves tend to be mostly basal. Basal and lower stem leaves have a broader oval elliptic blade that tapers into a “winged” stalk, 2½ to 8 inches long (including the stalk) and up to 2¼ inches wide, densely hairy on both surfaces, typically with shallow teeth around the edges but occasionally toothless. Mid and upper leaves are also hairy but become progressively much smaller, more lance-elliptic, less toothed to toothless, and becoming stalkless.

[photo of leaves] Stems are ridged, often unbranched but open, uncrowded specimens can be heavily branched on the upper half of the main stem or branched from the base. While typically densely hairy throughout, from which it gets its common name, some individuals in northern populations can be nearly smooth with just a few scattered hairs.


While a few specimens can be found along the rocky cliffs and ridges of the southeastern bluff country, up through the Twin Cities and north along the Mississippi and St. Croix Rivers, Hairy Goldenrod is most abundant in the sandy soils of north central and eastern Minnesota and common along the rocky shores of Lake Superior. Between the columnar flower structure, hairy surfaces throughout and regional preference it is not easily mistaken from others of the genus. White Goldenrod (Solidago bicolor), a more eastern species, is not known to be present in Minnesota but is very similar to S. hispida except for the flower color. There are at least 3 varieties of S. hisbida described in various references, the differences primarily in habitat and the degree of hairiness, but none of these are recognized (or at least known to be present) in Minnesota.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Wild River State Park, Chisago County, and in Lake County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Carlton and Lake counties.


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

Posted by: Paul Toftness - St Paul
on: 2019-08-24 15:21:57

We think this species is found on the rocky edges at Lost Valley SNA.

Posted by: Sherrie Hood - Ely MN
on: 2020-09-03 22:00:01

Along the parking area on Miners' Lake by Miners' Museum. There are a number of them there. Have photos.

Posted by: gary - Lake County
on: 2022-07-29 22:35:13

On rock outcrops along the Superior Hiking Trail between Finland and Little Marais. Not very common.

Posted by: Pat W - Pillager area
on: 2022-09-26 21:15:05

A few plants growing in my yard, unnoticed by me until this year. A nice, tame Goldenrod with flowers all up the stem. Definitely a keeper.

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