This low growing goldenrod is the earliest to bloom. Its smooth, reddish stems are 15–50 cm tall, and the small yellow flowers form a plume shaped cluster near the top of the stem. It grows in dry, sandy soil, and is attractive to butterflies.
According to Kershaw, goldenrod has been used for food and medicine. It was called ‘woundwort’ during the Crusades because of its ability to stop bleeding. (184) However, no ethnobotanical use of this plant is recorded.
Growth habit and range: This erect perennial herbaceous plant is commonly found on dry sites on the prairies. The plant grows to a height of 15–50 cm and often occurs in a spreading cluster.
Description: The leaves are linear to lanceolate in shape and 2–10 cm long. The stems and leaves are smooth and green, but may have a red tinge. Marginal hairs may be present on the leaves. The leaves are alternately placed on the stem, or are basal. The stem leaves are smaller and more linear than the oblong, stalked, basal leaves. The bright yellow flowers appear in July and August and are borne in a short, terminal panicle measuring 5–7 cm long. Each flower is 3–5 mm in length. The fruit is a small achene which displays whitish bristles.
Kershaw, Linda. 2000. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the Rockies. Lone Pine Publishing, AB.