Solidago canadensis

Solidago canadensis, known as Canada goldenrod or Canadian goldenrod, is an herbaceous perennial plant of the family Asteraceae.[2] It is native to northeastern and north-central North America[3] it often forms colonies, of upright growing plants with many small yellow flowers in branching inflorescence held above the foliage. It is an invasive plant in other parts of the continent and several areas worldwide, including Europe and Asia. It is grown as an ornamental in flower gardens.

Solidago canadensis
Solidago canadensis 20050815 248.jpg

Secure (NatureServe)
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Asterales
Family: Asteraceae
Genus: Solidago
S. canadensis
Binomial name
Solidago canadensis
  • Aster canadensis (L.) Kuntze
  • Doria canadensis (L.) Lunell
  • Solidago altissima L.
  • Solidago anthropogena


Solidago canadensis is a herbaceous perennial plant with stems that grow 2-4 feet and sometimes to 6 feet (30–150(–200) cm) tall. It has a wide distribution with several varieties,[4] which have significant variability.[5] The lanceolate to broadly linear shaped leaves are alternately arranged on the stems.[6] The leaves are 4-6" long and 1" wide. The stems have lines of white hairs, while the undersides of the leaves are pubescent. The leaves are often prominently toothed.[7] The flowers have yellow rays and are arranged into small heads on branched pyramidal shaped inflorescences,[8] flowering occurs from July to October.[9] It has a rhizomatous growth habit, which can produce large colonies of clones.[10] This goldenrod can be found growing on distributed sites, along dry road sides to moist thickets.[11]

Ecology and distributionEdit

Solidago canadensis is sometimes browsed by deer and is good to fair as food for domestic livestock such as cattle or horses.[12]

It is found in a variety of habitats. It typically is one of the first plants to colonize an area after disturbance (such as fire) and rarely persists once shrubs and trees become established. It is found in very dry locations and also waterlogged ones.[12]

Although utilized by a variety of insects to some degree for its floral rewards, it is especially strongly favored as a nectar source by paper wasps, such as Polistes parametricus and Polistes fuscatus.[13] Aside from wasps, it is also fairly popular with honeybees and bumblebees. It is generally passed over by monarchs and other larger-sized butterflies in favor of other flowers.

It can be extremely aggressive and tends to form monocultures and near-monocultures in parts of its native range, such as in Southwest Ohio clay loam. It often outcompetes competitive species in such habitat.[14] It not only seeds a great deal, but also spreads rapidly via running rhizomes. Its root system is very tough, and plants that have been pulled out of the ground prior to freezing and left exposed atop soil have survived -14 Fahrenheit (-26C) winter temperatures.

Usually a large monoculture of yellow flowers in early-fall is a sure sign that you are dealing with Canada goldenrod. These colonies can exclude all other plant growth and grow to a substantial size, making them a concern for land managers.

— Frank Hassler, [14]

Solidago canadensis is winter hardy in USDA zones 3-9.[15]

Invasive speciesEdit

In many parts of Europe, Japan and China, it is established as an invasive weed.[16][17][18][19]

In eastern and southeastern China, particularly the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangsu, Jiangxi and Shanghai, its invasion has caused widespread concern. It has been reported that the spread of invasive plants including Canada goldenrod has caused the extinction of 30 native plants in Shanghai.[20] In the city of Ningbo, Zhejiang, it has reduced local orange harvests.[21] It is still spreading across China, and sightings have been reported in as far as Yunnan province.[22]

Medicinal usesEdit

The stems and leaves of goldenrod have been dried and used in folk medicine. Its main use has been on the skin to treat wounds and as a diuretic. It has been used to get rid of kidney stones and other kidney ailments by flushing them out. Other uses have included as a mouth rinse and gargle, and treatment for inflammation, tuberculosis, allergies, gout, hemorrhoids, arthritis, asthma, internal bleeding. Animal testing has shown it to be effective in reducing hypertension, muscle spasms, and inflammation, as well as fighting infections.[23] It contains alkaloids that can mask bitterness,[24] possibly making it an alternative to artificial substances or licorice allergies in medicinal combinations.

Allergic skin reactions can occur when coming into contact with the living plant. However, it is generally recognized that the plant does not cause allergic rhinitis. It is often confused with ragweed, which does cause pollen allergies.[23]


  1. ^ "Solidago canadensis". The Global Compositae Checklist (GCC) – via The Plant List.
  2. ^ "Solidago canadensis". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 18 November 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ a b "Solidago canadensis". County-level distribution map from the North American Plant Atlas (NAPA). Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2014.
  4. ^ Hong Qian; K. Klinka (1998). Plants of British Columbia: Scientific and Common Names of Vascular Plants, Bryophytes, and Lichens. UBC Press. pp. 440–. ISBN 978-0-7748-0652-7.
  5. ^
  6. ^ Steven Foster; Christopher Hobbs (2002). A Field Guide to Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 131–. ISBN 0-395-83806-1.
  7. ^ Leonard Adkins (10 August 2006). Wildflowers of the Appalachian Trail. Menasha Ridge Press. pp. 124–. ISBN 978-0-89732-974-3.
  8. ^ France Royer; Richard Dickinson (December 1996). Wildflowers of Calgary and Southern Alberta. University of Alberta. pp. 118–. ISBN 978-0-88864-283-7.
  9. ^ Donald D. Cox (1 January 2005). A Naturalist's Guide to Field Plants: An Ecology for Eastern North America. Syracuse University Press. pp. 9–. ISBN 978-0-8156-0780-9.
  10. ^ David J. Gibson (2015). Methods in Comparative Plant Population Ecology. Oxford University Press. pp. 45–. ISBN 978-0-19-967147-2.
  11. ^ John C. Kricher; National Audubon Society; National Wildlife Federation (1998). A Field Guide to Eastern Forests, North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 2–. ISBN 0-395-92895-8.
  12. ^ a b c Coladonato, Milo (1993). "Solidago canadensis". Fire Effects Information System (FEIS). US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Forest Service (USFS), Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. Retrieved 2009-08-24 – via CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  13. ^ a b Buck, Matthias (26 October 2012). "Taxonomic adventures in the world of paper wasps". Research Blogging. Entomological Society of Canada. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  14. ^ a b c Hassler, Frank (21 August 2014). "Canada Goldenrod" (PDF). Good Oak Ecological Services. Retrieved 9 November 2019.
  15. ^ Maureen Heffernan (1 February 2010). Native Plants for Your Maine Garden. Down East Books. pp. 213–. ISBN 978-0-89272-900-5.
  16. ^ a b Semple, John C.; Cook, Rachel E. (2006). "Solidago canadensis". In Flora of North America Editorial Committee (ed.). Flora of North America North of Mexico (FNA). 20. New York and Oxford – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  17. ^ a b Altervista Flora Italiana, Verga d'oro del Canadà, Solidago canadensis L. photos, European distribution map
  18. ^ a b Chen, Yilin; Semple, John C. "Solidago canadensis". Flora of China – via, Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
  19. ^ a b Atlas of Living Australia
  20. ^ a b Jiangsu's battle with Canada Goldenrod (Chinese) Archived 2006-06-24 at the Wayback Machine
  21. ^ a b Jiaodianfangtan (Chinese) Archived 2004-12-17 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ a b Blanchan, Neltje (2005). Wild Flowers Worth Knowing. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  23. ^ a b c "Complementary and Alternative Medicine - Penn State Hershey Medical Center - Goldenrod".
  24. ^ a b Jie Li, Li Pan, Joshua N. Fletcher, Wei Lv, Ye Deng, Michael A. Vincent, Jay P. Slack, T. Scott McCluskey, Zhonghua Jia, Mark Cushman, and A. Douglas Kinghorn (2014). Journal of Natural Products 2014 77 (7), 1739-1743. DOI: 10.1021/np5001413.
  25. ^ "Solidago canadensis". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 18 November 2015. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)

External linksEdit