Ontario Wildflowers website

Tall Goldenrod
Solidago altissima

Other common names: Late Goldenrod

Family: Composite Family (Asteraceae)

Group: Goldenrods

Distinctive features: Gets the "goldenrod galls" - see photos below. Flowers are larger than Canada Goldenrod.

Similar species:
  •   Late Goldenrod (Solidago gigantea) - very similar - stems smooth & glaucous.

  •   Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) - very similar - flowers smaller.

  •   Early Goldenrod (Solidago juncea) - blooms earlier; has many basal leaves.


Flowers: Summer, Autumn;  Yellow;  Indistinguishable parts (petals);  Yellow, late summer and fall.

Height: Up to 2 m (6 ft)

Stem: Sturdy.

Habitat: Fields and Open Areas;  Open fields.

Lifespan: Perennial.  

Books: Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: 448    Peterson's Field Guide to Wildflowers: 190    ROM Field Guide to Wildflowers of Ontario: 184   

Native/Non-native: Native

Status: Very common.

Notes: It is said that this is the only species of Goldenrod in southern Ontario that gets the classic "goldenrod galls" - the nice round ones. So far I have found this to be true. Tall Goldenrod used to be classified as a distinct species, Soldiago altissima, and will still be found in most books this way. Lately it has been reclassified as a variety of Canada Goldenrod, Solidago canadensis var. scabra. Although the differences are subtle, with practice and study these two species/varieties can be differentiated.

This species is sometimes referred to as "Late Goldenrod", probably by mistake.


Origin and Meaning of Names:
 Scientific Name: altissima: tall


See Also:
  •   Goldenrod & Ragweed, from The Monday Garden, by Sue Sweeney
  •   Goldenrod, Ragweed and Mugwort, from The Monday Garden, by Sue Sweeney


Photographs: 106 photographs available, of which 18 are featured on this page. SCROLL DOWN FOR PHOTOGRAPHS.

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

Typical shape/form of Tall Goldenrod.

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

Flowers.

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

Flowers, a closer view.

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

Closeup side view.

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

Showing the size of the flowers. Compare this to Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis).

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

Goldenrods are insect magnets! A huge variety of insects flock to goldenrod while it's in bloom.

This is a beetle that is often found on various species of Goldenrod, here on Tall Goldenrod. It's often called a "Goldenrod Beetle".

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

The stem is crowded with many leaves, especially towards the top.

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

The stem is fuzzy with short hairs right to the base.

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

A classic Goldenrod gall. It is formed by the larvae of a small fly.

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

You will often find these galls pecked open by birds in the winter. In fact, the grub inside is edible by humans as well.

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

This larva "pre-eats" a channel to the outside world before winter sets in, so that once it pupates into a fly, it will have no trouble getting out. Otherwise it would have quite a job getting out through those tough goldenrod fibres.

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

The grub.

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

Yup, it's edible! Ok, ok, don't gross out! It's really no different than many other meats that we eat.

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

A stand of Tall Goldenrod, many of which have the classic Goldenrod galls - these are the bright spots on the stems.

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

Upper surface of leaf.

Tall Goldenrod (Solidago altissima)

Underside of leaf.