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Montana Field Guides

Velvety Goldenrod - Solidago mollis

Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S4
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 4

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Solidago mollis is present across most of Montana. More current data on population sizes and distributions is needed before warranting it as a Species of Concern.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Velvety Goldenrod (Solidago mollis) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 09/21/2016
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Range Extent

    ScoreG - 200,000-2,500,000 sq km (~80,000-1,000,000 sq mi)

    Area of Occupancy

    ScoreE - 26-125 4-km2 grid cells

    Number of Populations

    ScoreD - 81 - 300

    Number of Occurrences or Percent Area with Good Viability / Ecological Integrity

    ScoreC - Few (4-12) occurrences with excellent or good viability or ecological integrity

    Environmental Specificity

    ScoreD - Broad. Generalist or community with all key requirements common

    Long-term Trend

    ScoreU - Unknown


    ScoreU - Unknown


    ScoreU - Unknown

    CommentThreats: Unknown/undetermined.

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    ScoreC - Not intrinsically vulnerable

General Description
Plants: Perennial with a creeping rhizome (McGregor et al. 1986) and without a definite caudex (Hitchcock et al. 1955); herbage densely puberulent (Lesica 2012) throughout but may be almost glabrous near the stem’s base, grayish-green; stems one to a few, loosely clustered (McGregor et al. 1986).

Leaves: Thick, both surfaces canescent (covered with white or greyish hairs); basal leaves absent; the lower reduced cauline leaves falling early; the bigger mid-stem leaves abundant and crowded, scarcely to conspicuously reduced above, oval, lacking a petiole (or lower ones obovate with merely a hint of a petiole), 3–10 cm in length, 1-4 cm in width, the length 2 ½ to 5 times the width (Hitchcock et al. 1955), irregularly toothed to nearly entire (McGregor et al. 1986), the apex rounded or acute (Hitchcock et al. 1955), and the larger leaves conspicuously 3-nerved (McGregor et al. 1986).

Inflorescence & Heads: Inflorescence a dense, somewhat elongate panicle, or sometimes more compressed (McGregor et al. 1986), ovoid to conical with branches pointing toward one side. Involucres bell-shaped, 3–5 mm high; phyllaries lanceolate to oblanceolate (Lesica 2012), rounded or nearly acute (McGregor et al. 1986), ciliate (Lesica 2012) or glabrous, overlapping, typically 3.5-6 mm tall, the wider ones about 0.8-1.3 mm across (Hitchcock et al. 1955).

(Lesica’s contribution adapted from Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX.)

Flowers July-October (McGregor et al. 1986).

Diagnostic Characteristics
Unlike Velvety Goldenrod, the similar Rigid Goldenrod, Solidago rigida, has basal leaves. It also has a branched caudex instead of rhizomes (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
AB to MB south to NM, TX, IA and MI (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 50

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Dry or drying grasslands and meadows (McGregor et al. 1986), sagebrush steppe, coniferous woodlands; plains, valleys (Lesica 2012).

(Lesica’s contribution from Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX.)

Reproductive Characteristics
Flowers: Ray florets fertile, yellow, 6 to 10 (commonly 8) (McGregor et al. 1986), 3-4 mm in length (Hitchcock et al. 1955); ligules 1–3 mm in length; disk flowers 3 to 8 (Lesica 2012), perfect and fertile (McGregor et al. 1986); corollas 2–5 mm in length (Lesica 2012).

Fruit: Achenes 1–2 mm in length, strigose (Lesica 2012) or appressed hairy; pappus of white capillary bristles (McGregor et al. 1986).

(Lesica’s contribution adapted from Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX.)

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Great Plains Flora Association (McGregor, R.L., coordinator, and T.M. Barkley, R.E. Brooks, and E.K. Schofield - eds.). 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: Univ. Press Kansas. 1392 pp.
    • Hitchcock, C.L. 1955. Compositae. In C.L. Hitchcock, A. Cronquist, M. Ownbey, and J.W. Thompson (eds.). Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part 5. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 343 pp.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
  • Additional ReferencesLegend:   View Online Publication
    Do you know of a citation we're missing?
    • Britton, N. L. and A. B. Brown. 1913. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada, and the British Possessions. 2nd Edition in 3 Volumes. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons. B13BRI01PAUS.
    • Peterson, J.G. 1969. The food habits and summer distribution of juvenile sage grouse in central Montana. M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 39 p.
    • Rundquist, V.M. 1973. Avian ecology on stock ponds in two vegetational types in north-central Montana. Ph.D. Dissertation. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 112 p.
    • Wiman, N.G. 2001. Dynamics of leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) infested plant communities influenced by flea beetles in the Aphthona complex (Colepotera: Chrysomelidae). M.Sc. Thesis. Bozeman, MT: Montana State University. 148 p.
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Citation for data on this website:
Velvety Goldenrod — Solidago mollis.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from