Sweet Goldenrod/ Licorice Goldenrod

Sweet Goldenrod/ Licorice Goldenrod

Solidago odora

Kingdom: Plantae

Phylum: Angiosperm

Class: Dicot

Order: Asterales

Family: Asteraceae

Genus: Solidago

Species: odora

Where in the OLL?

It hosts a large amount of varied beneficial and beautiful insects and pollinators. It also grows on a steep slope and is able to slow water flow, protecting the soil from erosion and floods.

Plant growth form

This herbaceous plant survives winter through its roots. The plant grows up to 2-4’ tall and 6-8” wide. Leaves are dark green, alternate, untoothed, between linear and lanceolate shaped, up to 4” long.

Flowers, fruits & pollinators

The larger flower is actually a collection of flowers of two distinct types: fertile ray flowers with seed producing parts, and disk flowers that contain both pollen and seed producing parts. This structure is called a “composite” flower, a trait found in the entire Aster family. Goldenrod flowers are yellow and bloom late in the summer (July) and into fall (November).

The tiny, yellow curved raceme (cluster) has flower heads along one side that are as long as ¼ of an inch and as wide as 1/16  of an inch. Between 10-17 ray flowers surround over twenty disk flowers in the middle.

On the disc and ray flowers, there are 4-5 petals joined together and 4-5 stamens joined together by the anthers around 1 pistil. The five petals in ray flowers compose a broad strap, and in disc flowers, a ring. Instead of sepals, there is a pappus (hairy structure that will encompass the fruit and aids in seed dispersal).

Ideal location, conditions & cultural needs

This plant thrives on over 6 hours of direct sunlight each day, but does well with partial shade. It is best to grow in dry sandy or loamy well drained soils, but it can grow in clay soils with few nutrients. An ideal pH range is acidic (pH <6.8) with no special nutrient needs.

Planning & maintenance

A full grown plant needs 3-6 square feet of space. It does not spread as vigorously as other goldenrod species but is often mistaken for them.

Cultivars & propagation

It is best to propagate this plant from seed or from rhizome division. Rhizomes are underground stems that function as food storage and can be divided for propagation purposes. No particular cultivars are best suited to a garden.

Pests & pathogens

Common pests and diseases from this plant include: Striped Cucumber beetles, Goldenrod beetles, Fungal Leaf Spots, Bacterial Leaf Spots, Powdery Mildew. These can be managed organically through various methods: Water earlier in the day to reduce risk of fungus. Kill the insects by hand. Avoid overhead sprinkler systems and consider drip irrigation to keep leaves dry and reduce risk of fungus and mildew.

Landscape & ecosystem

It adds vibrant yellow flowers and green stalks to the landscape. It attracts bees and monarch butterflies with its abundant nectar. It also attracts beneficial insects such as soldier beetles that feed on pests, such as aphids, grasshopper eggs, caterpillar larvae.

Human uses

One way humans have benefited from this plant is that it is rich in nectar that bees turn into honey. It has also been used for dying clothing and making rubber. It has also been used for medicinal purposes to aid in relief from issues such as fatigue, pain, inflammation, and UTIs.

The leaves and flowers are dried and steeped in hot water to make tea. The flowers can also be chewed to cure a sore throat. The plant is known for having medicinal properties that assist in the function of the throat, nose, lungs, and kidneys. Some believe that this plant is good for relieving cat allergies, as well as hay fever. The plant can also be used as a topical remedy, for example as a plant poultice or a salve applied to the skin. It possesses antimicrobial properties.

Plant catalogued by Daniel Peal
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