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Wrinkle-leaf goldenrod is a compact, clump-forming herbaceous perennial, growing 1 to 6 feet tall. From August to October, slender stems with small, yellow flowerheads cascade from erect, hairy stems lined with rough-textured (or wrinkled) leaves. This goldenrod species will grow in full or part sun and in a wide range of moist soils. It tolerates drought once established. It’s a great addition for late-season color and an important food source for many pollinators, including native bees and migrating butterflies.

 

Contrary to popular belief, goldenrod is not a source of fall allergies because its pollen is not light enough to be transported on the wind. Fall allergies are associated with wind-pollinated plants such as ragweed, an annual plant with greenish flowers that often goes unnoticed.

 

Wrinkle-leaf goldenrod is found in the wild in open woodlands, thickets, disturbed areas, sandy swamps and prairies, meadows, old fields, and bogs. Its creeping, rhizomatous roots are ideal for stabilizing soil and preventing erosion. This is a great perennial for sunny borders or naturalized areas where it can spread freely.

 

Plant Characteristics:

Grows 1-6’ tall.

 

Prefers full or part sun.

 

Prefers wetter soils but grows in well-drained sandy, loamy, or gravelly soils.

 

Bright yellow flowers appear in panicles near ends of stems August-October.

 

Leathery, green, 4” leaves have a wrinkled appearance and are elliptical or ovate in shape.

 

Wildlife Value:

Host plant for 122 Lepidoptera larvae, including brown-hooded owlet and goldenrod owlet moths (pictured above). Other visitors are long- and short-tongued bees, wasps, flies, beetles, and butterflies. Around 50 species of insect larvae feed on the stem of goldenrod species. Woodpeckers and chickadees peck open the insect galls to eat the larvae. Praying mantises and other predators feed on the many insects, and indigo bunting, swamp sparrows, goldfinches, ruffed grouses, and other birds enjoy consuming the seeds.

 

Medicinal, Edible, and Other Uses:

A tea is brewed from the flowers and leaves. The flowers are used to garnish salads. The leaves can be cooked like spinach or added to soups or casseroles, while blanched leaves may be frozen for later use.

 

During the 1920s, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, and Harvey Firestone considered using goldenrod latex as a potential rubber substitute.

 

Goldenrod, Wrinkle-leaf, Solidago rugosa

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