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Blue-stemmed goldenrod

Solidago caesia

Solidago caesia

Regular price $6.48 USD
Regular price Sale price $6.48 USD
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Size

Sun/shade: Full sun to full shade

Soil moisture: Dry to medium

Height: 1.5-2.5'

Spread: 1-2'

Flowering period: September

On a wooded ridge in early October, low stems lined with yellow blossoms overlay the ground, arching brightly across the forest floor like the paths of woodland sprites made visible. The stems belong to wreath goldenrod, and as for the sprites – indeed they are present, their yellow and black bodies buzzing from bloom to bloom as they seek out pollen and nectar.

With its arching form, this flower of the forest doesn’t match the common notion of a goldenrod. But like other goldenrods, wreath goldenrod is beloved by bees and a wide range of other pollinators. Bumble bees and metallic green sweat bees are some of the most frequent visitors.

In the garden, wreath goldenrod grows well under part shade to shade and in soil moisture ranging from moderate to moderately dry. This plant is an especially good choice for drier woodland gardens, where it works well in combination with white wood aster and white goldenrod.

Research into goldenrod habitats and bloom times shows some of the ways these plants compete with one another for pollinators’ attention. When two goldenrod species occupy the same habitat, they will often bloom at different times. And when goldenrod bloom times overlap, the species in question typically occupy different habitats. Each goldenrod species thus attempts to ensure that when it blooms, it has maximum access to local pollinators with respect to other, nearby goldenrods. This point is well demonstrated by wreath goldenrod and zigzag goldenrod: although both are species of the forest with overlapping bloom times, wreath goldenrod tends to grow in drier upland woods whereas zigzag goldenrod tends to grow in wetter lowland woods, such as floodplain forests.

References: 1,2,3,4,5.

Photos by Julie Slater.

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