Native Plant of the Week: Stiff Goldenrod ~ Oligoneuron rigidum (Solidago rigida)

Stiff Goldenrod is a great colorful late summer to early fall nectar and larval host for many insect species.

In the cold mornings the last couple of days the bumble bees are perched frozen on top of the flowers waiting for the sun to warm up their bodies so they can move again.

In my opinion, it is one of the most attractive goldenrods, with light blue gray soft leaves and a very upright and sturdy (stiff) growing habit.

For this reason, it makes a great addition to any sunny, medium to dry place in the landscape. En masse, the blue gray leaves contrast very nicely with prairie grasses or forbs.

Monarch butterflies love to nectar on Stiff Goldenrod late into the season prior to their migration, often after their other favorites like the Milkweeds and Blazingstars are finished flowering.

There are also many other insect species that like Stiff Goldenrod including many moth species that feed on the flowers and foliage.

A recent new arrival on our Stiff Goldenrod which was a first for our yard is the Locust Borer Beetle (Megacyllene robiniae). This beetle is another bee or wasp mimic with its black and yellow coloring to ward off potential predators. The beetle buried himself head down in between the flowers overnight, and like the bumbles waited to warm up with the rising sun.

Stiff goldenrod is native to central North America from Alberta to Quebec southwards to Texas. It grows up to 4 feet tall in rich soils, shorter in drier, poorer soils.

In our area in Central Minnesota, Stiff Goldenrod can be seen growing along roadsides (not as abundantly as Canada Goldenrod) and in prairie remnants like the one in this photo.

I took these photos below in about 20 minutes in my yard on the Stiff Goldenrod to illustrate the amazing insect diversity.

Sphex ichneumoneus
Great Golden Digger Wasp
Helophilus species
Flower Fly
Eristalis dimidiata
Flower Fly
Apis mellifera
Honey Bee
Pieris rapae
Cabbage White Butterfly

Spilomyia species
Hover Fly

Polistes fuscatus

Northern Paper Wasp
Dolichovespula arenia

Aerial Yellowjacket

Metallic Green Bee

Syrphid Fly

Jurinia pompalis

Tachinid Fly

Eumenes sp.

Potter Wasp

Bombus auricomus
Black and Gold Bumble Bee

Diabrotica undecimpunctata
Spotted Cucumber Beetle

Danaus plexippus
Monarch Butterfly