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All photographs copyright by Mike Slater unless otherwise noted.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

A very cute little native Goldenrod

A very cute little native goldenrod is found along the lower Susquehanna river growing in crevices in the schist bedrock. It is now called Solidago simplex ssp. randii v. racemosa (USDA Plants Link). The name is almost longer than these plants are tall. I would expect that would be bigger when not growing in a tiny crack in a rock but I do want to try growing it in a trough or rock garden.

This species is on the PA endangered species list as this is the only place it is found. It is on the list under the name:

Solidago spathulata DC. var. racemosa (Greene) Gleason Sticky Goldenrod
status: Endangered
Variety racemosa grows from Tennessee to New Brunswick and Nova Scotia and it is considered threatened or endangered in many states. Other varieties of Solidago simplex ssp. randii grow as far west as Lake superior.

Sticky Goldenrod grows on the flood scoured bedrock where competition is reduced along with many relict prairie species like Big-blue-stem, little blue-stem, Indian grass and Veronicastrum virginicum.

This habitat is called (from Maryland's DNR):
(Big Bluestem - (Yellow Indiangrass) Temporarily Flooded Herbaceous Alliance)

"Concept: This alliance includes scoured riverbank 'prairies' in northeastern and southeastern United States, which may be called 'riverside prairies,' 'linear prairies,' 'rivershore grasslands,' or 'scoured riverine bluff prairie.' In addition to the nominal species, examples may also contain Schizachyrium scoparium, Chasmanthium latifolium, and/or Panicum virgatum, any of which could be locally dominant. These grasslands may be associated with dry cobble riverbanks and lakeshores, as well as flood-scoured, acidic or calcareous bedrock exposures associated with major rivers. This includes riverine gravel/cobble bar 'prairies' along the upper Cumberland River in Kentucky and Tennessee; scour areas along high gradient sections of major rivers, such as in gorges in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and possibly farther west; and scoured limestone bluffs along the Duck River in Tennessee's Central Basin."

I took these pictures on friday when I took my Sister and Brother-in-law from Texas to see the unusual habitat where this wonderful little plant grows.

I have showed pictures of Solidago simplex ssp. randii v. racemosa in habitat to Rock Gardening friends from the Rocky Mountain area and they are struck by the similarity to Solidago multiradiata growing above the tree-limit in the central rockies.

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