Sun/shade: Full sun to part shade
Soil moisture: Dry to medium
Flowering period: August to October
Host plant for 122 caterpillar species
After absorbing the sun’s rays for months, wrinkleleaf goldenrod erupts in golden-yellow color in September, as though it were saturated with light and its stems were beginning to shine. The source of the bright coloration, of course, is the blooming of hundreds of yellow flowerheads that are present along the stems’ upper surfaces. In terms of pollinator value, goldenrods are among the most important plants for supporting pollen-specialist bees, which depend on the pollen from a narrow range of plant species for feeding their larvae. Although the bees are very specific about sourcing pollen, they consume nectar from a variety of plants. This means that specialist bees play a role in pollinating many plant species other than their pollen hosts. Considering that 20 – 45% of native bees are specialists, healthy bee populations can only be maintained if the plants that the specialists require – such as wrinkleleaf goldenrod – are abundant across the landscape.
A native NE Ohio inhabitant of meadows and open-canopied woodlands, wrinkleleaf goldenrod grows well under conditions of full sunlight to partial shade and moderate soil moisture. The plant will attain a mature height of 3-6’ and will likely spread through the production of underground stems known as rhizomes. Look for wrinkleleaf goldenrod to produce its bright yellow blooms for approximately 1 month in late summer or early fall.
Photo by Rob Routledge.