Plant Description

Solidago missouriensis
Missouri Goldenrod

Family: Sunflower (Asteraceae)

General Description:

herb with a single, leafy, hairless stem rising 20-50 cm from spreading rhizomes in the ground. Clusters of yellow flowers occur near the top of the plant.

  • creeping
  • erect

Life Cycle:
  • herbaceous perennial

  • forb

  • Native

Phenology: flowers from July to October, pollination occurs by flying insects.

Occurs in North America as far north as upper BC and Alberta, and as far south as New Mexico. Exists as far west as the Pacific coast states with the exception of California, and as far east as Ontario, Arkansas and Tennessee.


There are 13 goldenrod species in Montana. Western goldenrod (S. occidentalis) has small depressions in the leaf and large clusters of flowers (up to twice as many as S. missouriensis). S. multiradiata has fine hairs below the flower heads.

Did You Know?:

Types of goldenrod are often blamed for causing hay fever. However, the pollen from the flowers is too heavy to be carried by the wind. In fact, the real culprit is ragweed, which blooms around the same time. The young leaves of goldenrod are edible. Missouri goldenrod has sap which is high in latex, and efforts have been made to use the plant as a source of rubber. Its rhizomes and rootstalk are very persistent, and so this plant is good at surviving fires. Native Americans used to chew the root of this goldenrod to alleviate the pain associated with toothaches. The population of this herb will burgeon in a field that is overgrazed by livestock.


dense pyramidal clusters of yellow flowerheads grow at the ends of the stems. Each head is about 5 mm across and contains 7-13 ray flowers 1-3 mm long, and 8-13 disk flowers.

Flower Arrangement:
  • head
Flower Color:
  • green
  • yellow-orange
Flowering Months:
  • summer
Flower Shape:
  • flat
  • irregular-1 lipped
  • tubular

a short, hairy, single seeded fruit with many white, hairlike bristles around the top.

Fruit Type:
  • achene

5 to 10 cm long and .5-2 cm wide alternate lance-shaped green leaves. They have three veins and get smaller as they grow farther up the stem. The leaves are stalkless and may be toothed on the lower leaves, but the upper leaves are toothless and narrow.

Leaf Arrangement:
  • alternate
Basal Leaves:
  • smooth
Leaf Division:
  • simple
Leaf Margin:
  • smooth
  • toothed
Leaf Shape:
  • widest at base
Leaf Stem:
  • without stem
Leaf Tooth:
  • pointed forward

dry, open meadows and forests. Can be found in both the plains and the mountains, on grassy slopes and rocky hillsides. Often grows along railroad tracks, in ditches and around fences where the ground has been disturbed.

Non-Forest Habitats:
  • alpine tundra
  • cliffs/rocks
  • disturbed
  • grassland
  • meadows
  • sagebrush
Forest Habitats:
  • douglas fir-larch-ponderosa pine
  • limber pine-douglas fir
  • lodgepole pine
  • ponderosa pine
  • subalpine fir-spruce
Disturbed Habitats:
  • burn
  • clearcut
  • roadside
  • Frank Janes
  • (June 15 2004)
  • (June 15 2004)
  • 1. Dorn, R. D. 1984. Vascular Plants of Montana. Mountain West Publishing. Cheyenne, WY.
  • 5. Kershaw,L.; MacKinnon,A.; Pojar, J. 1998. Plants of the Rocky Mountains. Lone Pine Publishing. Edmonton, AB Canada.
  • 113. Spellenburge, R. 1998. National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers. Alfred A. Knopf. New York.
  • hay fever
  • natural rubber
  • edible