Ontario Wildflowers website

Learn the Goldenrods

Goldenrods can be challenging to learn. However, once you become familiar with the key identifying features of each species, they don't seem quite as hard to learn. I got a real kick-start learning Goldenrods in the fall of 2004, during a Hamilton Naturalists Club walk with Dr. Jim Pringle of the Royal Botanical Gardens (Burlington, Ontario). There's no substitute for an expert identifying and pointing out the characteristics of each species. This is the best way to learn the Goldenrods.

One important thing to remember when dealing with Goldenrods is that their common names vary widely, with even the same common name being used for different species! So you would be well advised to learn the scientific names of Goldenrods as well.

Please also see the following...

Hopefully this section of Ontario Wildflowers will provide some help to "goldenrod-challenged" naturalists!


One tip I will give right now to those who are trying to learn Goldenrods of Ontario. Do not use the Peterson's or Newcombe's field guides to try to learn these species. You will only end up very confused. Only a portion of the species featured in these guides actually occur in Ontario. See the Booklist page for recommended books about Goldenrods in Ontario.

#1. Here is a list of the common Goldenrods that occur in Ontario. This is a beginner's list. Get to know all of the species on this list before moving on to list#2.

#2. The infamous three. These three species are very similar and very difficult to tell apart. In fact, two of them are often lumped together as one species.

#3. These are less common Goldenrods in Ontario. You should only tackle these as the last step of learning Goldenrods.

#4. Here is a list of Goldenrod species listed in the Peterson & Newcombe field guides which do NOT occur in Ontario, or are RARE or VERY RARE in Ontario. In other words, don't bother with these until you're a master of the others.