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A Comprehensive Guide to Buckley’s Goldenrod (Solidago buckleyi)

Buckley’s Goldenrod (Solidago buckleyi) is a herbaceous perennial that is native in the mid-western United States. This species is a host to the baltimore checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton) and several moths. Growing from 2 feet to 4 feet tall, this species grows in open, rocky woods. The yellow flowers bloom in September and the plant is hardy in zones 6-8.

Taxonomy and Naming of Buckley’s Goldenrod (Solidago buckleyi)

Herbarium specimen of buckley's goldenrod (Solidago buckleyi).
Herbarium Specimen — Solidago buckleyi Torr. & A.Gray collected in United States of America by Botanical Research Institute of Texas (licensed under CC0).

Taxonomy

Buckley’s Goldenrod (Solidago buckleyi) was originally named and described by John Torrey and Asa Gray, both American botanists, in 1842 It has kept this same name since and is a member of the Aster Family (Asteraceae).

Meaning of the Scientific and Common Names

Scientific Name

The genus name, Solidago, derives from the Latin words, Solidus and ago, which together mean to make (ago) whole (Solidus). This meaning comes from the medicinal uses of the plant. The species name, buckleyi, is a Latinized AAA.

Common Name and Alternative Names

The common name comes from the species name.

Physical Description

Yellow flowers of buckley's goldenrod (Solidago buckleyi) in a wooded area.
Buckley’s Goldenrod (Solidago buckleyi) — Mason Brock (Masebrock), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Plant Type: This plant is a herbaceous perennial.
  • Height: 2 ft (0.6 m) to 4 ft (1.2 m)
  • Stem: The stems are erect and sparsely to moderately strigose puberulent (Flora of North America).
  • Leaves: The leaves are alternate, with basal and cauline leaves, oblanceolate to ellptic-lanceolate, and have serrate margins. They are 3.0 in (8,0 cm) to 5,5 in (14.0 cm) long and 0.1 in (0.25 cm) to 0.2 in (0.4 cm) wide (Flora of North America).
  • Flower color: yellow
  • Blooming period: This plant blooms from September.
  • Fruiting type and period: This plant has achenes that mature in the late fall and winter.

Range of Buckley’s Goldenrod in the United States and Canada

Range map of buckley's goldenrod (Solidago buckleyi) in the United States and Canada.
Range Map of Buckley’s Goldenrod (Solidago buckleyi) — Range Map Credit: Kartesz, J.T., The Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2023. (website https://bonap.org/). Chapel Hill, N.C. [maps generated from Kartesz, J.T. 2023. Floristic Synthesis of North America, Version 1.0. Biota of North America Program (BONAP). (in press)]

This goldenrod species is native to the mid-westernUnited States and is considered to be rare in the states of Arkansas, Indiana, and Kentucky.

Habitat

Pine barren habitat in the southeastern United States.
Pine Barren Habitat — National Archives and Records Administration, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

This species grows in open oak woods (Flora of North America) and rocky woods (Mohlenbrock and Voight 1965).

Hosted Insects

Baltimore Checkerspot butterfly on vegetation.
Baltimore Checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton) — D. Gordon E. Robertson, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This goldenrod, like a lot of other goldenrods, is a host to the wavy-lined emerald (Synchlora aerata). The genus in general is a host to the Baltimore Checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton) and black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes).

Other Supported Wildlife

Blazing star (Liatris spicata) with bumblebee in McMullen House garden.
Bumblebee on Blazing Star (Liatris spicata) — Robert Coxe, Image

This species is a nectar source to other butterflies, skippers, bees, and wasps during the growing season. It is especially important since it provides a nectar source in the late season.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does this plant have any ethnobotanical uses?

The Native American Ethobotanical Database does not specifically this species, but Solidago in general has been used for colds, pain, heart medicine, and for stomach ailments.

How is this plant distinguished from other Goldenrods?

This goldenrod is similar to the downy yellow goldenrod (Solidago petiolaris), but differs in that S. petiolaris has acute leaf apices, and this species has short-accuminate leaf apices (Nesom 1990). S. petiolaris also has larger lower and mid-stem leaves than this species (University of Waterloo Asterae Lab).

Is this plant invasive?

This species has not been noted as being weedy.

Gardening with Buckley’s Goldenrod

Plant of buckley's goldenrod (Solidago buckleyi) in a wooded area.
Buckley’s Goldenrod — Solidago buckleyi Torr. & A.Gray observed in United States of America by Ryan Sorrells (licensed under CC BY 4.0).

Hardiness

This species is hardy in zones 6-8. If your garden is within these zones and you have the right growing conditions (soil, moisture and exposure), you may well be able to grow this plant. However, if planted outside of its range, the hosted species may not recognize the plant or be harmed by ingesting a different species with an unfamiliar chemical composition.

Optimal Conditions

This species requires full sun to part-shade and medium well-drained soils.

References

  • Mohlenbrock, Robert and John Voight. 1965. An Annotated Checklist of Vascular Plants of the Southern Illinois University Pine Hills Field Station and Environs. Journal of the Illinois Academy of Science 58: 268-301.
  • Nesom, Guy. 1990. Taxonomy of Solidago petiolaris (Astereae: Asteraceae) and related Mexican species. Phytologia 69: 445-456.
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Robert Coxe

Robert Coxe

Robert Coxe is a professional ecologist and botanist who has worked as the State Ecologist of Delaware and as an ecologist for the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. He is also a former Past-President of the Pennsylvania Academy of Science. He currently is an innkeeper at McMullen House Bed & Breakfast LLC and a web designer and owner for Silphium Design LLC.

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