Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Late Goldenrod (Solidago gigantea)

Also called Giant, Tall, or Smooth Goldenrod, "Late" is something of a misnomer because this plant blooms right after Early Goldenrod. The height is given as up to two meters, but the plants in the following photos were closer to about one meter and this species seldom attains the theoretical maximum height in this area.

Late Goldenrod is often confused with Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), but there are a few characteristics that will help separate the two species in the field. The stem of Solidago gigantea is glabrous, or smooth and hairless, and glaucous, meaning waxy – the waxy bloom can easily be wiped off the stem.

Ascending the stem, the leaves become gradually smaller and the lower stem leaves are shed by the time of the flowering period.

A look at a the upper side of a stem leaf – field guides state that there are three prominent veins, but in many local specimens only the central vein is really stands out.

The two veins parallel to the central vein are much easier to see when viewed from the underside of the leaf.

The capitulescence during the third week of July.

Late Goldenrod in bloom on the first of August.

A closeup shot of the flowers. The countless tiny insects are pollen-feeders, Shining Flower Beetles belonging to the family Phalacridae.