This herbaceous perennial wildflower (aka silverrod) retains the same wildlife value as other goldenrods, but its narrow, upright habit and pale flowers give it a more delicate and subdued demeanor. It has a narrow, erect form that grows 1-3’ tall and bears short wands of cream-colored flowers with yellow central disks on the upper portion of thin, wiry stems from late summer into fall. It does best in full or partial sun and is often found in poor soils or heavy clay, though it adapts to other soil types. It is tolerant of salt and drought.
“Bicolor” refers to the subtle, two-toned flower heads, or composites, which are made up of many small flowers. Composite flowers are a characteristic of the Asteraceae family, and these delicate structures have reached a high state of development. Each petal is actually a ray flower, and the center disk is made up of tiny, tube-like flowers. With landing pads, copious nectar, and pollen, composite flowers are efficient structures for multitudes of pollinators.
Native habitats include disturbed clearings, meadows, fields, and woodlands. Use white goldenrod as a contrast to other fall-blooming plants in native or pollinator gardens.
Prefers full sun to part shade.
Grows 1-3’ tall.
Prefers dry, poor soils and heavy clay. Grows well in well-drained sand or loam.
7 to 9 creamy-white ray flowers encircle a yellow disk flower on unbranched stems between July and October.
Elliptical green leaves are 3-6” long at the base, gradually getting smaller as they ascend the stem. Hairy stems are often unbranched.
Host plant for 122 species of lepidoptera species, including the wavy-lined emerald moth pictured here, and specialists goldenrod flower, derelict eucosma, confused eucarsa, and beautiful phaneta moths. In addition to honey bees, goldenrod attracts specialized bees such as mining, solitary, cellophane, and the tiny Perdita bee. Other visitors include ants, wasps, spiders, moths, and beetles. Songbirds depend upon the seeds.
Medicinal, Edible, and Other Uses:
Native Americans used the root to treat burns. They made a tea from the flowers to treat fevers, chewed the flowers for sore throats, and used leaf extracts for urinary tract problems.
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