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Pine-Barren Goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa), a Comprehensive Guide in 9 Sections

Introduction

Pine-Barren Goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa) is a herbaceous perennial that is found on the coastal plain of the east coast of the United States. This plant, along with other goldenrods, is an important nectar source for many insects in the fall including the Monarch butterfly. It can grow from 1 to 6 feet tall and has oblanceolate to elliptic-oblong leaves with entire to slightly serrate margins. The golden yellow flowers bloom from July to November and it is hardy in zones 5-11.

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Taxonomy and Naming of Pine-Barren Goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa)

Herbarium specimen of Pine-Barren Goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa).
Pine-Barren Goldenrod — Solidago fistulosa Mill.
collected in United States of America by The New York Botanical Garden (licensed under CC BY 4.0)
Holotype of Pine-barren Goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa).
Holotype of Pine-Barren Goldenrod — “BM001050770” – Solidago fistulosa Mill. by The Trustees of the Natural History Museum, London (licensed under CC BY 4.0)

Taxonomy

Pine-Barren goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa) was named by Philip Miller, an English botanist, in 1768. This species has kept the same name since. This plant 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). The name comes from the medicinal uses of the plant. The species name, fistulosa, derives from the Latin for “hollow” apparently for a hollow stem.

Common Name and Alternative Names

The common name as used in this post refers to the habitat of the plant since it is often in pine barrens. Another name is hairy pinewoods goldenrod (Weakley 2022) and hollow goldenrod (wildflower.org), both of which is apparently descriptive of the stem pubescence in the former and inner stem in the latter.

Physical Description of Pine-Barren Goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa)

Flowers of Pine-barren goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa) in a pine woodland.
Plant of Pine-Barren Goldenrod — Solidago fistulosa Mill.
observed in United States of America
by Stephanie Coutant (licensed under CCO 1.0)

Description

  • Plant Type: This plant is a herbaceous perennial.
  • Height: 1 to 6 feet (0.5 – 1.75 m) tall.
  • Leaves: The leaves are alternate, simple, entire to slightly serrate, sessile to lightly clasping, and oblanceolate to elliptic-oblong in shape. They are 1 to 5 inches in length and 0.25 to 1.25 inches in width.
  • Flower Color: The flowers are generally a light golden/yellow color.
  • Blooming period: July to November
  • Fruiting type and period: achene — October to November

Range of Pine-Barren Goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa) in the United States and Canada

Range map of Pine-barren Goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa) in the United States and Canada.

This goldenrod grows in the coastal plain of the eastern United States from Louisiana to New Jersey. It common in all states where it is found.

Habitat

Pine Barren habitat in New Jersey.
Pine Barren Habitat — Jim Lukach, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This goldenrod grows in moist to mesic soils such as swamps, shores, maritime forest, bogs, pine woodlands, pocosins, and wet roadsides.

Hosted Insects

Wavy-lined Emerald on fabric.
Wavy-lined Emerald — CBG Photography Group, Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

This goldenrod supports the Wavy-lined Emerald (Synchlora aerata).

Other Supported Wildlife

Monarch Butterfly on a goldenrod.
Monarch on a goldenrod — ALAN SCHMIERER from southeast AZ, USA, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons

Most goldenrods are major sources of nectar for a lot of insects in the fall. This goldenrod is no different. Insects that are helped the most include Andrena bees and bumblebees, but butterflies are also frequent visitors including Monarch butterflies. Leafcutting bees (coastalplainplants.org) and cellophane bees (EOL) also like this plant. Birds are fond of the fruits and it is deer resistant, most likely because of its succulent nature.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pine-Barren Goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa)

Is this plant poisonous?

The Celebrity Angels site lists Solidago, or goldenrods in general as being mildly poisonous to pets and the Deerfield Veterinary Clinic lists it as well. The Botanical Online site says that goldenrods are not poisonous, but that they can cause gastronomic distress if eaten.

How has this goldenrod been used?

There is no information on this particular species in the Native American Ethnobotany Database, but goldenrods in general have been used for pain relief and for respiratory ailments. Rubber can be made from the leaves (coastalplainplants.org).

What other goldenrods are similar?

Seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens) grows in similar areas to this plant and has fairly large leaves going up the stem. However, pine-barren goldenrod has a hairy stem, which separates it.

Does goldenrod cause allergies or hay fever?

Goldenrods in general, which do not cause hayfever, are often confused for ragweed (Ambrosia sp.), which cause the common hayfever. These plants bloom at the same time, which may lead to the confusion.

Is this plant considered to be invasive?

This species can spread readily by rhizomes and form dense patches, but it has a rather limited habitat. However, coastalplainplants.org notes that it is a weed in blueberry plantations.

Gardening with Pine-Barren Goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa)

Yellow flowers of Pine-Barren Goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa).
Yellow flowers of Pine-Barren Goldenrod — PD from Wikimedia Commons

Hardiness

This goldenrod is hardy in zones 5-11. If you are located in the coastal plain of the United States and live within these zones and have the right soil and moisture requirements, it is likely you can grow this species.

Optimal Conditions

This goldenrod prefers places with full sun to partial shade and moist to mesic sandy or high pH soil. Sharon’s Florida notes that plants grown in full sun have a shorter stature.

References

  • Weakley, A.S., and the Southeastern Flora Team 2022. Flora of southeastern United States. University of North Carolina Herbarium, North Carolina Botanical Garden.

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