Pictured above: Chapman’s goldenrod (Solidago odora var. chapmanii) by Emily Bell. Click on terms for botanical definitions. View post as a PDF.
Of Florida’s 22 Goldenrods, Chapman’s goldenrod is one of the best suited to home landscapes. Nearly endemic, it is naturally found throughout the Florida peninsula and into Southeast Georgia occurring in nearly all of our dry sandy upland ecosystems. A wonderful wildlife supporter, Chapman’s goldenrod is popular with a wide range of bee, beetle and butterfly pollinators, songbirds eat the seeds and it provides cover for small animals.
Puberulent stems emerge from dense fibrous roots in late winter to early spring. Leaves are lanceolate and alternate. Branching flowerheads bear numerous small bright yellow flowers arranged in rows along the tops of the flowering stems. Seeds are born in nutlets adorned with fuzzy white hairs that help them disperse on the wind.
In North Florida, Chapman’s goldenrod overlaps in range with Anisescented goldenrod (Solidago odora var. odora), which is much more widely distributed throughout the Eastern United States. They can be difficult to distinguish, however, the latter tends to grow taller, has more elongated linear leaves, and the leaves have a strong anise smell when crushed.
Family: Asteraceae (Aster, composite or daisy family)
Native range: Peninsular Florida
To see where natural populations of Chapman’s goldenrod have been vouchered, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Hardiness: Zones 8B–10B
Soil: Well-drained sandy soils
Exposure: Full sun to part shade
Growth habit: Up to 4 feet tall
Garden tips: Chapman’s goldenrod is highly adaptable and can grow in most soil types with the exception of frequently moist to wet areas. It is a fantastic addition to a mixed wildflower planting and pairs well with Spotted beebalm, Dense gayfeather, Florida paintbrush, and Narrowleaf silkgrass. It will reseed and sucker (though not aggressively).
Chapman’s goldenrod is available from nurseries that specialize in Florida native plants. Visit www.PlantRealFlorida.org to find a nursery in your area.