Solidago riddellii (Riddell's Goldenrod)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; wet meadows, fens
Bloom season:August - September
Plant height:24 to 40 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
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: flat

[photo of flowers] Flower clusters are mostly rounded and flat topped, dense to semi-open, occasionally more an open panicle than flat. The yellow flowers have 7 to 9 rays (petals), are about ¼ inch or more tall, on multiple stalked clusters at the tip of the main stem. The floral bracts are rounded and relatively broad.

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

[photo of leaves] Leaves are leathery with smooth surfaces, the edges toothless but rough (scabrous). Basal leaves are lance-like, often broadly oblong, tapering to a long winged stalk, up to 10 inches total length, up to ½ inch wide, usually withered away before flowering (deciduous). Leaves become progressively smaller as they ascend the stem, more lance linear, smooth surfaced, stalkless to clasping to sheathing, arched with a fold along the midrib and prominent lateral nerves, the upermost leaves 2 to 4 inches long. A plant may have multiple stems in a clump; stems are unbranched and mostly erect, mostly hairless except sometimes near the flower cluster.


Riddell's Goldenrod distribution in Minnesota is in moist prarie meadow habitats from south central up into the upper Red River Valley. The rounded flat cluster is unique from all other native goldenrods except Stiff Goldenrod (Solidago rigida) that is also present in its range. But S. rigida prefers dry sandy habitats and its stems leaves are decidedly rounder with rough, hairy surfaces. The folded, arching and often sheathing stem leaves uniquely separate Riddell's Goldenrod from the rest.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka and Peter M. Dziuk taken in McLeod County.


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

Posted by: Martha D - Shakopee
on: 2017-08-31 05:16:35

In late August 2017 there are lots of Goldenrod in the Seminary Fen Scientific and Natural Area in Chanhassen. I am not positive if they are Riddell's or Canadian (or a different one). There could have even been more than one kind there. The area overlooking the boggy area and Assumption Creek was riddled with them (pun could be intended). Have photos.

Posted by: Becky Marty - Near Felton, MN
on: 2019-08-07 21:23:53

I have been seeing what I believe to be this goldenrod for the past several days as I have been working in various fens in the Felton area. Everything checks out/keys out, except the stem leaves - for they are rarely as short as 2 - 2.5 inches, and even your photos would lead me to believe they are longer. The ones I have been seeing are pretty consistently closer to 6" long. Am I missing something and I have another species (no flowers yet), or is the text on the stem leaf length inaccurate? I use your website a LOT as a confirmation tool and to help narrow things - and this is the 1st time I have found what I perceive to be a mistake. Corrections to me or the text would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!!!

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2019-08-09 11:24:29

Becky, there was some confusion on leaf lengths; it was noted the leaves become smaller as they ascend the stem but did not note that it was the uppermost leaves that are as small as 2 inches. Corrected.

Posted by: Arthur D. - northeast Anoka County
on: 2023-10-27 10:41:03

I planted a Riddell's Goldenrod sourced from Landscape Alternatives (see nursery ad on right side of page) in a low-lying moist full sun area. In late summer Riddell's Goldenrod was buzzing with bumblebees, smaller bees, wasps, and many other pollinators. I saw far more frenzied pollinator activity on this species than I ever have on the nearby Canada Goldenrod. The pollinator value of this species is apparently exceptional.

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