Monday, December 31, 2012

Woody Goldenrod - Chrysoma pauciflosculosa

Woody goldenrod (Chrysoma pauciflosculosa) is the sole member of this genus. It is not a true goldenrod (Solidago spp.,), but a sub-shrub in the aster family with golden yellow flowers that look a bit like those of the goldenrrods. It is found only in the western half of the Panhandle, in xeric uplands near the coast and in sandhills and scrubs, and outside Florida from Mississippi to North Carolina in ximilar habitats.  It is endangered in North Carolina.
Woody goldenrod is an evergreen perennial that stands about 2-3 feet tall.  It produces many thin woody stems and assumes a very rounded aspect at maturity.  The foliage is mostly confined to the ends of each stem. The leaves are elliptical and bluish green in color. There are no teeth along the margins and they alternate along the stem.  The underside of each leaf is wooly, an adaptation to prevent water loss.
Flowering occurs in late fall.  Hundreds of flower heads are formed at the crown of each plant. These heads are produced on stalks that stand an additional 1-2 feeet above the foliage. The ray petals of each are a light lemon yellow. Mature plants in flull bloom are quite spectacular, and like other asters, they attract a large diversity of pollinating insects.
This species prefers full sun and excellent drainage and has high tolerance of salt spray.  This makes it an excellent choice for beach dunes and sandhill/scrub settings. But, despite its charm, woody goldenrod is only infrequently available to the home landscaper through commercial native plant nurseries.  We have collected seed from a sandhill site in Washington County and hope to have seedlings available by late spring 2013.  Should they prosper, we will also experiment with it in our Pinellas County landscape as well. 


  1. Hi, We have lots of that growing in the Melbourne area in Brevard county. There's a field of the goldenrod along I-95 near Cocoa that was incredible in the fall when the whole thing was in bloom. Looked like a sea of gold. Anyway, I just noted that you said it only grows in the Western part of the Panhandle, but we have it on the east coast too.

  2. Woody goldenrod is a very special plant - not truly a goldenrod and woody, like a shrub. Not herbaceous like the true goldenrods. If you are seeing goldenrods in the fall in mass anywhere outside this range and in any condition that is not on top of a deep sandy ridge, it is likely one of the many true goldenrods in the genus Solidago. I have put up posts of many of Florida's native Solidagos - check these put, look closely at the foliage, the way the flowers are arranged, and the type of habitat it is growing in to help you determine which one you may be looking at. Solidagos are not easy to tell apart.

  3. Were you successful in growing this plant? I would love to get a few plants for my daughter's garden in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida!

  4. Yes, I was - but I sold all of them during the Spring 2014 plant sales. I am currently growing 2 of those plants now in my landscape and hope to get seed once again in a few weeks. Check back with me early 2015 to see if the seed was viable. It is a wonderful plant for sunny and sandy landscapes and it has performed well for me in Pinellas County - well south of its natural range.

  5. Just encountered this plant on Dauphin Island. I was struck with how aromatic the crushed leaves are, and I crushed them because the plants made me think of sage. Do you know if this plant has any cooking or medicinal uses?


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