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A Comprehensive Guide to High-Plains Goldenrod (Solidago altiplanities)

High-Plains Goldenrod (Solidago altiplanities) is a herbaceous perennial that is native in the states of Oklahoma and Texas. This species is a host to the baltimore checkerspot (Euphydryas phaeton) and several moths. Growing from 1.5 foot to 3 feet tall, this species grows on rocky gypsum slopes. The yellow flowers bloom from September to October and the plant is hardy in zones 6-8.

Taxonomy and Naming of High-Plains Goldenrod (Solidago altiplanities)

Herbarium specimen of high-plains goldenrod (Solidago altiplanites).
Herbarium Specimen — High-Plains Goldenrod — Solidago altiplanities C.E.S.Taylor & R.J.Taylor collected in United States of America by Botanical Research Institute of Texas (licensed under CC0 1.0)

Taxonomy

High-Plains Goldenrod (Solidago altiplanities) was originally named and described by Constance and Ronald Taylor, both American botanists in 1983. 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, altiplanities, is a Latin for high-plains.

Common Name and Alternative Names

The common name comes from the native location of the species.

Physical Description

Herbarium specimen of high-plains goldenrod (Solidago altiplanities).
Herbarium Specimen — Solidago altiplanities C.E.S.Taylor & R.J.Taylor collected in United States of America by Botanical Research Institute of Texas (licensed under CC0 1.0)
  • Plant Type: This plant is a herbaceous perennial.
  • Height: 1.5 ft (0.5 m) to 3 ft (1 m)
  • Stem: The stems are erect, and pubsecent (Taylor and Taylor 1983).
  • Leaves: The leaves are alternate, with cauline leaves, linear, and ciliate margins. They are 2.4 in (6 cm) to 3.5 in (9 cm) long and 0.2 in (0.5 cm) to 0.2 in (0.6 cm) wide (Taylor and Taylor 1983).
  • Flower color: yellow
  • Blooming period: This plant blooms from September to October.
  • Fruiting type and period: This plant has achenes that mature in the late fall and winter.

Range of High-Plains Goldenrod in the United States and Canada

Range map of high-plains goldenrod (Solidago altiplanities) in the United States and Canada.
Range Map of High-PlainsGoldenrod (Solidago altiplanities) — 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 in the states of Oklahoma and Texas.

Habitat

Gypsum outcrop in New Mexico.
Gypsum Outcrop Habitat — James St. John, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This species grows in rocky slopes and shale (Flora of North America) and on gypsum (Taylor and Taylor 1984).

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 show 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 Julia’s goldenrod (Solidago juliae), but the high-plains goldenrod has greener leaves and little sparser pubescence (Semple et al 2014). It is also similar to the Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), but the linear leaves makes it different. The linear leaves also separate it from the three-nerve goldenrod (Solidago velutina), the Wright’s goldenrod (Solidago wrightii), and the downy ragged goldenrod (Solidago petiolaris) (Taylor and Taylor 1984).

Is this plant invasive?

This species has not been noted as being weedy.

Gardening with High-Plains Goldenrod

Herbarium specimen of high-plains goldenrod (Solidago altiplanities).
Herbarium Specimen — Solidago altiplanities C.E.S.Taylor & R.J.Taylor collected in United States of America by Botanical Research Institute of Texas (licensed under CC0 1.0)

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 and dry to occassional wet well-drained soils.

References

  • Semple, John C., Hammad Rahman, Sofia Bzovsky, Mariam K. Sorour, Katherine Kornobis, Rita Lopez Laphitz, and Lan Tong. 2014. A Multivariate Morphometric Study of the Solidago altissima Complex and S. canadensis (Asteraceae: Astereae). Phytoneuron 2014-10: 1-31.
  • Taylor, Constance E.S. and R. John Taylor. 1984. Solidago (Asteraceae) in Oklahoma and Texas. Sida 10: 223-251.
  • Taylor, Constance E.S. and R. John Taylor. 1983. New Species, New Combinations and Notes on the Goldenrods (Euthamia and SolidagoAsteraceae). Sida 10: 176-183.
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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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