Sun: Full to light shade
Moisture: Medium wet to wet
Bloom Time: Aug-Sep
Bloom Color: Yellow
Genotype: Winona, MN (shares a Level II ecosystem, Mixed Woods Plains, with Southeastern Michigan).
Indigenous interactions: In the Great Lakes area, (Moerman, 1998).
This tall, early-blooming goldenrod produces a large pyramidal crown of flowering panicles that last for about 4 weeks. Like other goldenrod species, S. gigantea offers a host of resources for insects, birds, and mammals. Native bees and butterflies use the nectar and pollen, numerous beetles eat the leaves, and the plant is a host to a range of moth caterpillars. Goldfinches and other birds eat the seeds, and mammalian herbivores including rabbits and deer eat the stem and toothy leaves. Late goldenrod can be distinguished from the similar, hairy-stemmed Canada Goldenrod and Tall Goldenrod by its smooth green or pinkish stem. Can be cut back in summer to reduce the need for staking. Often forms colonies. Tolerates temporary flooding.
"Many of the fair flowers have faded and gone, but we are not quite deserted, we have yet our graceful Asters, our pretty Gay-feathers, our Sun-flowers, Cone-flowers and our blue Gentians, and brightening our way-sides with many a gay, golden sceptre-like branch, our hardy, sunny Golden-rods; varying in color from gorgeous orange to pale straw-colour, from the tall-stemmed S. gigantea to the slender wand-like forms of the dwarf species, of which we possess many kinds, some with hoary foliage, others with narrow willow-like leaves of darker hue. On the grassy borders of inland forest streams we find the Golden-rods; they seem to accommodate themselves to every kind of soil and situation. The rocky clefts of islands are gay with their bright colours, the moist shores of lakes, the sterile, dusty waysides, corners of rail-fences or the forest shades, no spot so rude but bears one or another species of these hardy plants. A coarse but grand Genus and not without its value. Not for ornament alone is the Golden-rod prized. The thrifty wives of the old Canadian settlers prized it as a dye-weed, and gathered the blossoms for the colouring matter that they extracted from them, with which they dyed their yarn yellow or green."
—Studies of Plant Life in Canada, or, Gleanings from Forest, Lake, and Plain, Catherine Traill. Ottawa, 1885.