Ontario Wildflowers website

Goldenrods Group

To see all  Goldenrods  in order by Common Name     START HERE


Composite Family (Asteraceae)
Goldenrods are very challenging to learn to identify. The features that distinguish them are often very subtle, or occur in several species. To compound all these difficulties, some Goldenrods have conflicting common names.

Many beginning wildflower enthusiasts, and even some experienced ones, are simply content to just simply call them all "Goldenrods", without concerning themselves about what species each plant may be.

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 the Goldenrods (& Asters) 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. And see also Learning the Goldenrods on this site.
Common Names of Goldenrods:
Goldenrods have many common names. The ones listed here are the ones that I use for these species. If you're learning Goldenrods, you would be well advised to learn their Latin names as well as their common names or you risk a lot of confusion when you refer to various wildflower books.
Latin Names of Goldenrods:
Many of the established Latin names of Goldenrod species have been changing lately due to DNA and genetic research that is being done on all plants. I have tried in all cases to list all Latin names that have been in use for each species, but there may be some for which I am not up to date.
Goldenrods and Hay Fever:
It has been a common misconception for many years that goldenrods are a contributor to hay-fever. This is absolutely false! Hay fever is caused by very fine pollen grains that drift on the wind. Such fine pollen is produced by plants that are pollinated by the wind (makes sense, right?).
Goldenrods, on the other hand, have heavy pollen, as they rely completely upon insects for pollination (bees, hornets and wasps, beetles, and others). Plants that are insect-pollinated have showy flowers to attract insects (such as goldenrod). On the other hand, plants that are pollinated by wind usually have inconspicuous flowers as there's no need to attract insects to them (such as ragweed).

Goldenrod species featured on this website:

See Also:

Note: Upland White Aster (Solidago ptarmicoides) is now classed as a Goldenrod, in spite of its common name and appearance.

Some other Goldenrod species that grow in Ontario which are not yet featured on this website

  • Ontario Goldenrod (Solidago simplex) - rare
  • Large-leaved Goldenrod (Solidago macrophylla) - Lake Superior
  • Downy Goldenrod (Solidago puberula) - rare and endangered
  • Missouri Goldenrod (Solidago missouriensis) - rare - in the north
  • Elm-leaved Goldenrod (Solidago ulmifolia) - rare and endangered
  • Western Goldenrod (Solidago lepida) - in the extreme west and north
  • Riddell's Goldenrod (Solidago riddellii) - rare and vulnerable
  • Grass-leaved Goldenrod (Euthamia gymnospermoides) - very rare

Please see the Booklist page for recommended books about Goldenrods.

I have reproduced on this site a few pages about goldenrods from The Book of Field and Roadside: Open-Country Weeds, Trees, and Wildflowers of Eastern North America, by John Eastman.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND his books, and this section on Goldenrods will show why. CLICK HERE. John Eastman's books are an essential addition to the library of anyone interested in natural history.
(The material on those pages is Copyright by John Eastman & Amelia Hansen).
Click here to go to the Booklist which lists their three books.


Upland White Aster (Solidago ptarmicoides)
Upland White Aster
(Solidago ptarmicoides)
To see all  Goldenrods  in order by Common Name     START HERE