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Perennials. Typical height is from 3 to 5 feet. Colony-forming from creeping rhizomes.  Stems of var. canadensis are glabrous or sparsely pubescent toward the base, becoming densely pubescent upwards and within the inflorescence.  Stems of var. hargeri are pubescent throughout.

The inflorescence is compact, confined to the summit of the stem, often "pyramidal" in shape.  Branches are relatively short, crowded, spreading or ascending.

Flower heads are radiate.  They are arranged one-sided on branches.  Ray and disc floret corollas are bright yellow.

Basal and lowermost stem leaves are withered by flowering.  Mid- to upper stem leaves are lanceolate/oblanceolate, with three long, main veins that run approximately parallel to each other.  Stem leaves are numerous and crowded.  Leaf margins are usually toothed.  Lower surfaces of leaves are glabrous or pubescent primarily along main veins.

Plants of fields, pastures, roadsides, thickets; flowering from late July to mid-September.  Native..

Two varieties have been recognized:
Solidago canadensis
L. var. canadensis
Solidago canadensis
L. var. hargeri Fernald

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Similar species:  Solidago altissima, S. gigantea and S. rugosa.

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