There are some distinct species whose names stand out in the Long list of goldenrods. Seventy-five members of the genus are listed in the new, revised Gray's Manual of Botany (1950), and a large number of these are to be found in Illinois. They range from deep woods and wooded hills, to the dry, open uplands, the prairie roadsides, the dry oak woods, swamps, and stony fields. There is a goldenrod for almost any situation, and Late summer and early autumn see them at their best.
Late Summer - Autumn Woods, roadsides, swamps.
Plant of the unplowed prairie roadsides is the stiff goldenrod (Soli-dago rigida). Its erect, rigid stalks are topped with a flat cluster of brass-yellow, large flowers, much Larger than most other goldenrods, with few rays and broad centers. The Leaves are small, thick, oval, closely arranged around the stem and growing smaller toward the top of the stalk. It is a compact, unbranching plant of prairie soil which blooms in late August and September.
Quite different in its manner of growth and haunt is the elm-leaved goldenrod (Solidago ulmifolia) which grows in dry rocky oak woods in late summer. The plant is tenuous and spreading, with oval, slightly hairy, bright green leaves placed alternately along the thin stem. The flowering stalks are slender and long, each one lined with several rows of flowers. Elm-leaved goldenrod is shown above.