Solidago rigida (Stiff Goldenrod)

Plant Info
Also known as:
Family:Asteraceae (Aster)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:sun; dry fields, prairies, along roads
Bloom season:August - September
Plant height:1 to 5 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
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] A flat-topped cluster 2 to 5 inches across of 3/8-inch yellow flowers, each with 6 to 13 short petals (ray flowers) and a yellow center with up to 35 disk flowers. The rays are sometimes broad with rounded tips, sometimes more narrow with pointed tips.

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

[photo of basal leaf clump] There are both basal leaves and leaves alternating up the stem. Leaves are a grayish green color and rough from short bristly hairs, egg-shaped to oval, and mostly toothless but may have a few rounded, shallow teeth. Basal and lower stem leaves are 3 to 8 inches long, up to 2 inches wide, abruptly tapered at the base to a long stalk, and usually persist to flowering time.

[photo of stem leaves] Mid-stem leaves are up to 2 inches long, become progressively smaller as they ascend the stem, may have wavy edges, are fairly stiff (hence the common name), and clasp the stem. Stems are stout and rough from short bristly hairs.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed with plume

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a dry seed with a tuft of white or light brown hairs to carry them off in the wind.

[photo of seed] Seed is softly angled, 2 to 2½ millimeters long, sometimes a bit hairy, with faint lines or ridges along its length and ripens from pale tan to brown. Much of the seed is eaten by insects before it ripens.


Stiff Goldenrod commonly goes by Latin name Oligoneuron rigidum but the accepted name in Minnesota is Solidago rigida. The leaves resemble those of Velvety Goldenrod (Solidago mollis), a rare species only found in western Minnesota, which has lower leaves that usually wither by flowering time, mid to upper stem leaves are not clasping, and flowers are smaller, the involucre usually less than 6 mm (¼ inch) long and only 3 to 8 disc flowers, where Stiff Goldenrod lower leaves usually persist, stem leaves are clasping, and flowers are larger, the involucre 6 to 8 mm long with 14 to 35 disc flowers. There are 3 recognized subspecies of S. rigida, 2 of which are found in Minnesota: subsp. rigida is most common and generally described above; subsp. humilis is shorter, only to about 2 feet tall, more densely hairy overall with more compact, dome-shaped flower clusters.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey, Chisago and McLeod counties. Photos by Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka county.


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

Posted by: Dale - Inver Grove
on: 2010-08-26 18:03:04

My honeybees don't seem interested in Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), but they are all over the Stiff Goldenrod. Unfortunately, the Canada Goldenrod outnumbers the Stiff Goldenrod by about 10,000 to one.

Posted by: JAMES - S.E. Winona county
on: 2014-03-07 22:00:00

Planted stiff goldenrod in heavy clay on an East/West ridge. Other native forbs were compass, lead, blazing star, ohio spiderwort, liatris, big and little bluestem, indian, side oats and many others. The stiff flourished from season to season.

The primary advantage of the stiff is the overwhelming response of bees to the blooms. Other insects are also attracted to the nectar.

I managed to eradicate most of the canadensis by repeatedly hoeing and mowing when the plant is near blossom stage.

Posted by: Devon - Winona County
on: 2015-08-27 08:52:25

We now see some solidago rigida in our "big prairie" (a little over an acre). The new deer fence is a major factor no doubt. But it also rained at regular intervals this year for a change. It's the 11th new wildflower we've seen this year; quite a thrill. The other solidagos on the place are: speciosa, ulmifolia, flexicaulis, riddelii and way too much canadensis. In some placs where it's driving us crazy, I am digging up the insanely healthy roots and burning them, but am thinking of at least taking off the flowers before they make seeds in other places. Maybe I'll try a hoe after seeing James' remarks.

Posted by: Cathy - St. Paul
on: 2017-09-24 16:39:35

I've had this plant growing in a bed along my driveway and didn't know what it was (came with the place). It's huge and the bees love it.

Posted by: Paul Henjum - Apple Valley
on: 2020-12-16 06:19:08

S . rigida was common where they put the dog park in Burnsville around Alimagnet Lake, and there were some plants scattered in other areas in Apple Valley before development. A tall upright Goldenrod that blooms later in the year, loved by insects and does not spread rampantly by way of rhizomes like other species. I like the tall upright habit when used in beds and all the insects it attracts. It is also not an aggressive self-seeder.

Posted by: Luciearl - Lake Shore
on: 2022-09-11 16:09:03

This was planted in ditches along a trail put in a few years back. I was not familiar with this type of goldenrod, but now see the advantages of a late bloomer. I had only seen a few monarchs this year until yesterday. Walking along the trail,I saw many monarchs and bumblebees on this goldenrod. There were other wildflower choices, but this appeared to be the favorite.

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