Saturday, September 24, 2011
Solidago sempervirens - Seaside goldenrod
Seaside goldenrod (Solidago sempervirens) is perhaps the most distinctive species among Florida's goldenrods. Found throughout much of Florida, but primarily within our coastal counties, this species is both robust and evergreen. Though its common name suggests it to be "seaside", it also is resident to most states and provinces in the eastern half of North America.
As its Latin name indicates, seaside goldenrod is not entirely deciduous like other Florida species. Over winter, it maintains its large strap-like leaves. Then, in early spring, it begins its upward growth. This occurs throughout the summer and early fall. By its late fall blooming season, seaside goldenrod may stand 8 feet tall.
The foliage also stays rather robust up the stem to the flower head. The leaves are thick and elliptical, with few teeth along the margin. Like all goldenrods, it forms multi-stemmed colonies over time, but it does not produce underground rhizomes that would allow it to aggressively sucker as some. It also spreads easily from seed and new plants are likely to arise almost anywhere from plants not deadheaded and allowed to shed their cottony seed.
Seaside goldenrod blooms most abundantly in late fall. The flower heads are held somewhat upright as spires; not at all angles like some that also arch over. These bright golden heads of flowers attract a wide assortment of pollinators - as all goldenrods do. Its just that their sheer numbers make this species especially good for migrating monarch butterflies and a great many bees.
Seaside goldenrod is widely propagated for home landscapes and restoration projects by nurseries affiliated with FANN - the Florida Association of Native Nurseries. It makes a stunning landscape addition, but I believe it looks best when planted in mass and in expansive settings. Its very large size and tendency to spread make it a poor choice in small areas or areas not confined well by concrete.