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A Comprehensive Guide to Southern Goldenrod (Solidago confinis)

Southern Goldenrod (Solidago confinis) is a herbaceous perennial that is native in the states of California and Nevada. This species is a host to the northern checkerspot (Chlosyne palla) and several moths. Growing from 1 foot to 7 feet tall, this species grows along stream banks and marshes. The yellow flowers bloom from July to September and the plant is hardy in zones 4-10.

Taxonomy and Naming of Southern Goldenrod (Solidago confinis)

Herbarium specimen of southern goldenrod (Solidago confinis).
Herbarium Specimen — Solidago confinis A.Gray
collected in Mexico by The New York Botanical Garden (licensed under CC BY 4.0).


Southern Goldenrod (Solidago confinis) was named and described by Asa Gray in 1882. 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, confinis, is Latin for confined.

Common Name and Alternative Names

The common name comes from its location in southern California and Nevada and in Mexico. Some other common names include mountain goldenrod (Theodore Payne Foundation) and marsh goldenrod (Hirshberg and Clemons 1996).

Physical Description

Yellow flowers of southern goldenrod (Solidago confinis).
Southern Goldenrod (Solidago confinis) — jkirkhart35, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Plant Type: This plant is a herbaceous perennial.
  • Height: 1 ft (0.3 m) to 6.9 ft (2.1 m)
  • Stem: The stems are erect and and glabrous (Flora of North America).
  • Leaves: The leaves are alternate, with basal and cauline leaves, linear-lanceolate, and have entire margins. They are 2.0 in (5.0 cm) to 10.0 in (26.0 cm) long and 0.2 in (0.5 cm) to 1.8 in (4.5 cm) wide (Flora of North America).
  • Flower color: yellow
  • Blooming period: This plant blooms from July to September.
  • Fruiting type and period: This plant has achenes that mature in the late fall and winter.

Range of Southern Goldenrod in the United States and Canada

Range map of southern goldenrod (Solidago confinis) in the United States and Canada.
Range Map of Southern Goldenrod (Solidago confinis) — Range Map Credit: Kartesz, J.T., The Biota of North America Program (BONAP). 2023. (website 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 states of California and Nevada in the United States and the northern part of adjacent Mexico. It is considered to be rare in Nevada.


Streambank habitat in UK.
Streambank Habitat — Stream at Acorn Bank by Marathon, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

This species grows along wet stream banks (Fraga 2006), springs, and bogs and marshes (Semple, et al 1992).

Hosted Insects

Adult of northern checkerspot (Chlosyne palla) in vegetation.
Northern Checkerspot — Chlosyne palla (Boisduval, 1852)
observed in United States of America
by Alex (licensed under CC BY 4.0).

This goldenrod, like a lot of other goldenrods, is a host to the wavy-lined emerald (Synchlora aerata). This particular species, given its range is a possible host to the northern checkerspot (Chlosyne palla) (Calscape).

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 Guirado’s goldenrod (Solidago guiradonis), but differs in that Guirado’s goldenrod has leaves that are more than 10 X longer than wide. The triangular phyllaries with inrolled tips separates this species from the showy goldenrod (Solidago spectabilis).

Is this plant invasive?

This species has not been noted as being weedy.

Gardening with Southern Goldenrod

Yellow flowers of southern goldenrod (Solidago conifinis).
Southern Goldenrod (Solidago confinis) — ALAN SCHMIERER, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons


This species is hardy in zones 4-10. 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 to moist well-drained soils.


  • Cockerell, T.D.A. and D.M. Andrews. 1936. A new golden rod from Northern New Mexico. Torreya 36: 35-36.
  • Fraga, Naomi Suzanne. 2006. A short flora of Short Canyon, Kern County, California. Crossoma 32: 1-30.
  • Hirshberg, Jerilyn and Duffie Clemons. 1996. Vascular plants of the Cuyamaca and Laguna Mountains, California. Phytologia 81: 69-102.
  • Semple, John C., Jerry G. Chmielewski, and Chunsheng Xiang. 1992. Chromosome number determinations in fam. Compositae, tribe Astereae, IV. Additional reports and comments on the cytogeography and status of some species of Aster and Solidago. Rhodora 94: 48-62.
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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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