Description & Overview

Upland White Goldenrod is a Wisconsin native perennial, scattered throughout the state in sandy and dry soils, especially in the south-central and west-central counties.

With a delicate appearance and masses of aster-like white flowers, an unusual color and shape for goldenrods, blooms appear in mid to late summer, sometimes extending into fall. These late-season blooms support pollinators when other plants are winding down for the season.

You may also know this plant as Prairie Goldenrod, Sneezewort Aster, or Prairie Aster.
Botanical names synonymous with this plant as Aster ptarmicoides and Oligoneuron album.

Core Characteristics

Category: Perennial

Wisconsin Native: Yes

USDA Hardiness Zone: to zone 3

Mature Height: 12-24 inches

Mature Spread: 12-24 inches

Growth Rate: Fast

Growth Form: Upright, clump-forming

Light Requirements: Full Sun to Partial Shade

Site Requirements: Well-drained soils, sandy, gravelly, limey soil

Flower: White, 10-25 rays, ½", flat-topped clusters

Bloom Period: July – September

Foliage: Green, mostly basal, some along the stem, about 8" long, ½" wide

Fall Color: Golden brown to beige

Urban Approved: Yes

Fruit Notes: Fluffy seeds

Suggested Uses

Preferring dry, sandy, and rocky soils, Upland White Goldenrod thrives in full sun. While it can tolerate some shade, it can appear straggly in form and may not flower as well. Their love of dry places makes them an excellent choice for rock gardens, prairie restoration projects, and “hell” strips where little else will grow.

Providing late-season nourishment ahead of the winter months, Upland White Goldenrod is a wonderful addition to a pollinator garden.

Wildlife Value

Not much is known about the floral-faunal relationship with this particular species of Goldenrod; however, we know that Solidago in general supports many pollinators. Blooming later in the season when most other perennials have completed their flowering cycle, Goldenrod is a boon for pollinators and is considered a “cornerstone” plant by University of Delaware entomologist Doug Tallamy.

Goldenrod is a larval host plant for Solidago Eucosma (Eucosma cataclystiana), Goldenrod Gall moth (Epiblema scudderiana), Goldenrod Borer Plume moth (Hellinsia kellicottii), Tufted Apple-bud moth (Platynota idaeusalis), Ruby Tiger moth (Phragmatobia fuliginosa), Confused Eusarca (Eusarca confusaria), White-spotted Sable moth (Anania funebris), The Asteroid (Cucullia asteroids), Dark-spotted Palthis (Palthis angulalis), Brown-hooded Owlet (Cucullia convexipennis), Speyer’s Hooded Owlet (Cucullia speyeri), Black Blister Gall Midge (Asteromyia caronifera), Wavy-lined Emerald (Synchlora aerata), White-dotted Groundling (Condica videns), Common Tan Wave (Pleuroprucha insulsaria), Blackberry Looper moth (Chlorochlamys chloroleucaria), Beautiful Phaneta moth (Phaneta formosana), and more.

Monarch (Danaus plexippus), Black-and-yellow Lichen moth (Lycomorpha pholus), Edwards’ Hairstreak (Satyrium edwardsii), Bog Fritillary (Boloria eunomia), Common Branded Skipper (Hesperia comma), White-M Hairstreak (Parrhasius m album), Striped Hairstreak (Satyrium liparops), Silver-bordered Fritillary (Boloria selene), Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus), and Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui), visit seeking both nectar and pollen.

Songbirds, especially Goldfinches, love to eat the seeds.

Maintenance Tips

Upland White Goldenrod readily reseeds after flowering. If you want to control its spread, flower heads should be removed before setting seed-cut back to the ground in late fall.

Pests/Problems

Black Walnut Tolerant: Yes
Deer Resistant: No
Rabbit Resistant: No

Upland White Goldenrod has no serious insect or disease problems but may sometimes be affected by rust, powdery mildew, leaf spot, and root rot. To prevent these issues, increase air circulation by occasionally thinning plants and through proper spacing. Root rot can be caused by poorly drained, clay soil — planting in dry conditions will prevent root rot.

You may sometimes see beetles and aphids, but they are not harmful and are part of the beauty of native plants. They support the little creatures who support the bigger guys. If aphids become overwhelming, simply spray them off with water.

Deer and rabbits may nibble on Solidago if there is nothing more appetizing in the area, but it is usually not detrimental.

Leaf Lore

Long considered a species of Aster, Upland White was only recently categorized as a goldenrod as they look similar and can be mistaken for other white-flowering asters.

The genus name Solidago is from the Latin word ‘solidus’ meaning “to make whole” or “to heal” and ‘ago’ in reference to the medicinal healing properties of some species of plants. The specific epithet ptarmicoides means ‘to cause sneezing’ in Greek, thought to be the cause of hay fever. This is not the case as ragweed is the culprit for hay fever.

Upland White Goldenrod can hybridize with Riddell’s Goldenrod (Solidago riddellii) and Stiff Goldenrod (Solidago rigida); however, it has not been observed to form hybrids with Asters. White Goldenrod (Oligoneuron album)

Companion Plants

Plant Upland White with other natives that enjoy similar site conditions such as Tall Cinquefoil (Drymocallis arguta), Common Snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), Jack Pine (Pinus banksiana), Wild Strawberry (Fragaria virginiana), Prairie Blazing Star (Liatris pycnostachya), Pale Purple Coneflower (Echinacea pallida), Red Oak (Quercus rubra), Sand Coreopsis (Coreopsis lanceolata), Eastern Prickly Pear (Opuntia humifusa), and Prairie Phlox (Phlox pilosa).

Interplant with late bloomers to give pollinators a boost before migration and the cold months of winter.
Heath Aster (Sympyotrichum ericoides), Smooth Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve), Riddell’s Goldenrod (Solidago riddellii), Sedums (Sedum spp.), Common Witchhazel (Hamamelis virginiana), Stiff Goldenrod (Solidago rigida), Bigleaf Aster (Eurybia macrophylla), Hoary Vervain (Verbena stricta), White Turtlehead (Chelone glabra), Ironweed (Vernonia fasciculata), and Sweet Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia subtomentosa).

beth delain1 avatar

Written by Beth DeLain