Ohio Goldenrod

Solidago ohioensis Riddell

Solidago ohioensis
Troy Weldy

Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
Asteraceae (Aster Family)
State Protection
Listed as Threatened by New York State: likely to become Endangered in the foreseeable future. For animals, taking, importation, transportation, or possession is prohibited, except under license or permit. For plants, removal or damage without the consent of the landowner is prohibited.
Federal Protection
Not Listed
State Conservation Status Rank
Imperiled in New York - Very vulnerable to disappearing from New York due to rarity or other factors; typically 6 to 20 populations or locations in New York, very few individuals, very restricted range, few remaining acres (or miles of stream), and/or steep declines.
Global Conservation Status Rank
Apparently Secure globally - Uncommon in the world but not rare; usually widespread, but may be rare in some parts of its range; possibly some cause for long-term concern due to declines or other factors.


Did you know?

The common and scientific name refer to the state of Ohio where this species is a dominant in prairie fens.

State Ranking Justification

This species is at the eastern edge of its range in New York and the habitat it prefers is rather limited in New York. There are a total of 11 known extant populations. Eleven populations have not been seen in over 55 years and are considered historical. There are 3 populations which are believed extirpated.

Short-term Trends

No populations are known to have been extirpated in recent years. Most known extant populations occur in habitat that is in good shape although at least one is being threatened by invasive plants. Overall, although short term trends are not clear they appear to be stable to perhaps slightly declining.

Long-term Trends

Six out of the 11 known extant populations were first documented within the past 25 years. It is likely these populations were simply overlooked in the past and are not truly "new". Around 11 populations have not been seen in at least 55 years. Most of these populations have not been searched for recently and may still be extant. Around 3 populations have become extirpated in the past 100+ years. Overall, long term trends indicate at least some decline.

Conservation and Management


There is a gravel/sand pit adjacent to one population and continued mining may negatively impact this population. Trampling is another threat at a few populations due to the sensitive nature of the habitat where Ohio goldenrod grows. Erosion at some populations that occur on very steep slopes may eliminate some individual plants but in the long term, it is likely that this erosional process will create new habitat suitable for additional Ohio goldenrod plants. At least one population is threatened by competition from invasive species as well as flooding by beaver activities.

Conservation Strategies and Management Practices

As much as possible, researchers and botanists should avoid trampling sensitive fen habitat where this species occurs. Invasive species should be controlled at the one population where they are encroaching on the habitat where Ohio goldenrod grows. Beaver activity should be monitored at populations that may be threatened by flooding by beavers. If it appears that flooding will occur, beavers should be controlled.

Research Needs

All populations that are only known from historical specimens should be surveyed to determine if these populations are still extant. Known extant populations should be monitored on a regular basis.



In New York, this species predominately grows in very rich fens including sloping and marl fens. It also occasionally occurs in rich peat swamps, calcareous dripping cliffs, and banks of large rivers (New York Natural Heritage Program 2008). Marshes, wet sand dunes, along rivers (Semple and Cook 2006). Swamps, beaches, and other moist places (Gleason and Cronquist 1991). Calcareous bogs, wet prairies, and sandy shores (Fernald 1970).

Associated Ecological Communities

  • Marl fen (guide)
    A wetland that occurs on a bed of marl. Marl is a whitish substance that is deposited from water that has a lot of calcium dissolved in it. The whitish substance is calcium carbonate, people used to harvest marl to lime agricultural fields. The marl substrate is always saturated, may be flooded, and has a very high pH, generally greater than 7.5. The main source of water is always groundwater. The plants are often sparse and stunted. Marl fens may occur as small patches within a rich graminoid fen.
  • Northern white cedar swamp* (guide)
    A swamp that occurs on organic soils in cool, poorly drained depressions in central and northern New York, and along lakes and streams in the northern half of the state. These swamps are often spring-fed with continually saturated soils. Soils are often rich in calcium. The characteristic tree is northern white cedar, which makes up more than 30% of the canopy cover.
  • Red maple-tamarack peat swamp (guide)
    A swamp that occurs on organic soils (peat or muck) in poorly drained depressions. These swamps are often spring fed or enriched by seepage of mineral-rich groundwater resulting in a stable water table and continually saturated soil. The dominant trees are red maple and tamarack. These species usually form an open canopy (50 to 70% cover) with numerous small openings dominated by shrubs or sedges.
  • Rich graminoid fen (guide)
    A wetland of mostly grasses usually fed by water from highly calcareous springs or seepage. These waters have high concentrations of minerals and high pH values, generally from 6.0 to 7.8. Plant remains do not decompose rapidly and these grasses usually grow on older, undecomposed plant parts.
  • Rich sloping fen (guide)
    A small, gently sloping wetland that occurs in a shallow depression on a slope composed of calcareous glacial deposits. Sloping fens are fed by small springs or groundwater seepage. Like other rich fens, their water sources have high concentrations of minerals and high pH values, generally from 6.0 to 7.8. They often have water flowing at the surface in small channels or rivulets.
  • Riverside ice meadow* (guide)
    A meadow community that occurs on gently sloping cobble shores and rock outcrops along large rivers in areas where winter ice floes are pushed up onto the shore, forming an ice pack that remains until late spring. The ice scours the meadow, cutting back woody plants.
  • Riverside sand/gravel bar* (guide)
    A meadow community that occurs on sand and gravel bars deposited within, or adjacent to, a river channel. The community may be very sparsely vegetated, depending on the rates of deposition and erosion of the sand or gravel.

* probable association but not confirmed.

Associated Species

  • Agalinis paupercula (small-flowered agalinis)
  • Carex aquatilis (water sedge)
  • Carex aurea (golden-fruited sedge)
  • Carex buxbaumii (brown bog sedge)
  • Carex eburnea (bristle-leaved sedge)
  • Carex flava (yellow sedge)
  • Carex sterilis (dioecious sedge)
  • Cirsium muticum (swamp thistle)
  • Cladium mariscoides (twig-rush)
  • Cypripedium parviflorum
  • Cystopteris bulbifera (bulblet fern)
  • Dasiphora fruticosa (shrubby-cinquefoil)
  • Eleocharis rostellata (walking spike-rush)
  • Eriophorum viridicarinatum (green-keeled cotton-grass)
  • Liparis loeselii (Loesel's twayblade)
  • Lobelia kalmii (Kalm's lobelia)
  • Muhlenbergia glomerata (spike muhly)
  • Oligoneuron houghtonii
  • Packera aurea (golden ragwort)
  • Parnassia glauca (common grass-of-Parnassus)
  • Primula mistassinica (Lake Mistassini primrose, bird's-eye primrose)
  • Rhamnus alnifolia (alder-leaved buckthorn)
  • Rhynchospora alba (white beak sedge)
  • Schoenoplectus acutus
  • Solidago uliginosa (bog goldenrod)
  • Spiranthes cernua (nodding ladies'-tresses)
  • Spiranthes lucida (shining ladies'-tresses)
  • Spiranthes romanzoffiana (hooded ladies'-tresses)
  • Thuja occidentalis (northern white cedar, arbor vitae)
  • Triantha glutinosa (sticky false asphodel)
  • Trichophorum cespitosum


New York State Distribution

This species predominately occurs in western and central New York. There are also three populations (one which has become extirpated) from eastern New York (Albany, Rensselaer, and Columbia counties) (New York Natural Heritage Program 2008).

Global Distribution

This species occurs from New York west to southern Ontario, Wisconsin, south to Illinois and Indiana (Semple et al. 1999, Semple and Cook 2006).

Identification Comments

General Description

Ohio goldenrod is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows up to 1 meter tall. Plants occur either as rosettes of leaves or groups (1-10) of stems. The stems also have leaves along their length. Like all members of the sunflower family the flowers occur in tight groups or heads which are often mistaken for one flower. These heads of flowers occur in a branched, flat-topped array at the top of the stems. The flowers are yellow (Semple and Cook 2006).

Best Life Stage for Proper Identification

This species can easily be identified when it is in flower or fruit.

Similar Species

The very rare Oligoneuron houghtonii is quite similar. It can be distinguished by its taller involucres ((5.5-)6-8(-9) mm tall), leaf blades prominently 3-veined, fewer heads per capitulescence (10-30(-50) or sometimes 100 or more in robust plants), stems to about 60 cm, and branches in the capitulescences glabrous to pubescent. In contrast, O. ohioense has shorter involucres (4-5 mm tall), leaf blades prominently 1-veined, more heads per capitulescence (10-500), stems 40-100 cm tall, and branches in the capitulescences glabrous (Voss 1996, Semple and Cook 2006). Caution should be used with the number of heads per capitulescence character as robust plants of O. houghtonii can have as many heads as typical O. ohioense and depauperate plants of O. ohioense can have fewer than normal heads per capitulescence (Voss 1996).

Best Time to See

This species starts to flower in mid-August or sometimes a little earlier and continues through September or very early October. Fruits start in September and can last through October. Flowering individuals are easiest to spot and identify so, the best time to survey for this species is from mid-August through September.

  • Vegetative
  • Flowering
  • Fruiting

The time of year you would expect to find Ohio Goldenrod vegetative, flowering, and fruiting in New York.

Ohio Goldenrod Images


Ohio Goldenrod
Solidago ohioensis Riddell

  • Kingdom Plantae
    • Phylum Anthophyta
      • Class Dicotyledoneae (Dicots)
        • Order Asterales
          • Family Asteraceae (Aster Family)


  • Oligoneuron ohioense (Frank ex Riddell) G.N. Jones

Comments on the Classification

Oligoneuron is considered a monophyletic group (at least in some analyses) by Zhang (1996). Yet there is differing opinion as to whether Oligoneuron should be segregated from Solidago s.s. Zhang's (1996) work shows Oligoneuron nested within Solidago but close to a basal position. Depending on the circumscription of Solidago, the assignment of rank to Oligoneuron becomes subjective (Nesom 2000). Beck et al. (2004) suggests that further work may reveal a clade that consists of Solidago s.s., Oligoneuron, Chrysoma pauciflosculosa, Brintonia discoidea, and Oreochrysum parryi which then could all be placed under an expanded circumscription of Solidago. Semple and Cook (2006) and Semple et al. (1999) include Oligoneuron in a broad circumscription of Solidago while Nesom (2000) segregate the two genera. Hybrids between Oligoneuron ohioensis and Oligoneuron album (O. x krotkovii (Boivin) Nesom) are known where the two species are sympatric and apparently can be similar to Oligoneuron houghtonii (Semple and Cook 2006).

Additional Resources

Best Identification Reference

Semple, J.C. and R.E. Cook. 2006. Solidago Linnaeus. Pages 107-166 in Flora of North America Editorial Committee (Editors), Flora of North America, north of Mexico, Volume 20, Magnoliophyta: Asteridae, part 7: Asteraceae, part 2, Asterales, part 2 (Aster order). Oxford University Press, New York, NY, USA. 666pp + xxii.

Other References

Beck, J.B., G.L. Nesom, P.J. Calie, G.I. Baird, R.L. Small and E.E. Schilling. 2004. Is subtribe Solidagininae (Asteraceae) monophyletic? Taxon 53: 691-698.

Clemants, Steven and Carol Gracie. 2006. Wildflowers in the Field and Forest. A Field Guide to the Northeastern United States. Oxford University Press, New York, NY. 445 pp.

Crow, Garrett E. and C. Barre Hellquist. 2000. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Northeastern North America: A revised and enlarged edition of Norman C. Fassett's a Manual of Aquatic Plants. Volume One: Pteridophytes, Gymnosperms, and Angiosperms: Dicotyledons. The University of Wisconsin Press. Madison, Wisconsin. 536 Pages.

Fernald, M.L. 1950. Gray's manual of botany. 8th edition. D. Van Nostrand, New York. 1632 pp.

Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York. 910 pp.

Holmgren, Noel. 1998. The Illustrated Companion to Gleason and Cronquist's Manual. Illustrations of the Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. The New York Botanical Garden, Bronx, New York.

Nesom, G.L. 2000. Generic Conspectus of the Tribe Astereae (Asteraceae) in North America, Central America, the Antilles, and Hawaii. The Botancial Research Institute of Texas, Fort Worth, Texas, USA.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2010. Biotics database. New York Natural Heritage Program. New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. Albany, NY.

New York Natural Heritage Program. 2024. New York Natural Heritage Program Databases. Albany, NY.

Newcomb, Lawrence. 1977. Newcomb's Wildflower Guide: An Ingenious New Key System for Quick, Positive Field Identification of the Wildflowers, Flowering Shrubs, and Vines of Northeastern and North-Central North America. Little, Brown and Company. Boston.

Semple, J.C., G.S. Ringius, and J.J. Zhang. 1999. The Goldenrods of Ontrio: Solidago L. and Euthamia Nutt. 3rd Edition. University of Waterloo Biology Series, Number 39. University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.

Voss, Edward G. 1996. Michigan Flora Part III. Dicots Concluded (Pyrolaceae - Compositae). Cranbrook Institute of Science Bulletin 61 and University of Michigan Herbarium. 622 pp.

Weldy, T. and D. Werier. 2010. New York flora atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research http://www.fccdr.usf.edu/. University of South Florida http://www.usf.edu/]. New York Flora Association http://newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/, Albany, New York

Weldy, Troy W. and David Werier. 2005. New York Flora Atlas. [S.M. Landry, K.N. Campbell, and L.D. Mabe (original application development), Florida Center for Community Design and Research. University of South Florida]. New York Flora Association, Albany, NY. Available on the web at (http://newyork.plantatlas.usf.edu/).

Zhang, J.J. 1996. A Molecular Biosystematic Study on North American Solidago and Related Genera (Asteraceae: Astereae) Based on Chloroplast DNA RFLP Analysis (Phylogenetics). Ph.D. dissertation. University of Waterloo.


About This Guide

Information for this guide was last updated on: December 22, 2008

Please cite this page as:
New York Natural Heritage Program. 2024. Online Conservation Guide for Solidago ohioensis. Available from: https://guides.nynhp.org/ohio-goldenrod/. Accessed June 23, 2024.