Saturday, September 24, 2011
Solidago fistulosa - Pinebarren goldenrod
Pinebarren goldenrod (Solidago fistulosa) is another exceptionally widespread Florida species; found statewide in a variety of upland habitats. It is a species primarily of the Southeast Coastal Plain, however, and follows the curve of North America from Louisiana to New Jersey.
As its common name suggests, pinebarren goldenrod is a common component of pine flatwoods and open pine forests. I find it most commonly in mesic conditions; not areas that are the most well-drained. It is deciduous. Growth occurs in very early spring and individual stems eventually reach a mature height of 4-6 feet (rarely a bit taller) by its fall blooming season. Like seaside goldenrod (S. sempervirens), the leaves are lance-shaped and remain fairly large going up the stem. These leaves, however, are slightly toothed and the stems are slightly "hairy." It also differs in that it produces large numbers of rhizomes and suckers quite aggressively in all directions. For this reason, pinebarren goldenrod often occurs in dense patches; almost as monocultures, when it is in an area that provides ideal growing conditions.
Pinebarren goldenrod produces large open panicles of bright yellow flowers in fall. In my region of the state, it normally starts blooming in October and continues into November. These panicles are rather "regular", not overly arching and definitely not lop-sided off the main stem.
This is an extremely attractive species that is quite easy to grow, but consideration must be given to its aggressive nature. It performs best in expansive landscapes where its dense stems can serve to screen adjacent views or structures. It is a very poor choice for small landscaped areas or in situations where a wide diversity of wildflowers is desired.
Pinebarren goldenrod is frequently propagated by members of FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries, and can usually be located for home landscapes.