A very important part of the seasonal atmosphere would be lost if there were no goldenrods in bloom from late July until October ... if there were none of those golden plumes bending as one in the summer wind ... if there were no great flower-gardens of goldenrod along the swamps and in ditches and on hills. It would be as empty a season without goldenrod as springtime would be empty without violets. Each is indicative of the time of year and of the mood of the season, as inexorable and as irreplaceable as the going and coming of the migrant birds, or the passage of Time itself across the calendar.
Solidago altissima L.
Late Summer Ditches, low places.
Goldenrod in Illinois numbers dozens of species. Many are difficult to identify because their characteristics are so similar. But certain species stand out regally as individuals and may be identified as species, not just grouped in the great family of goldenrods.
One of these is the Canada goldenrod, with its long wands of stems topped with a broad mass of flowers. The leaves are sessile, grey-green, slightly toothed, abundant up the length of the stem. This tall goldenrod grows in moist places near swamps and in prairie roadside ditches.
The flowers of goldenrod unite in a tremendous working colony of blossoms, each of which is complete in itself. The center of each tiny yellow flower contains the tube flowers which produce the fluff-tipped seeds. Around the tubular blossoms are the thin yellow rays. The goldenrod flower-head contains hundreds of miniature sunflowers.
This goldenrod is the type plant of the family - the goldenrod which comes to mind when late summer is mentioned, when "all over upland and lowland, the charm of the goldenrod" opens the doorway to autumn.