CPC Plant Profile: Houghton's Goldenrod
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Plant Profile

Houghton's Goldenrod (Solidago houghtonii)

This yellow-flowering plant growing in its typical dune habitat at Grand Sable Dunes. Photo Credit: Unknown
Description
  • Global Rank: G3 - Vulnerable
  • Legal Status: Federally Threatened
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • State: CAN, MI, NY, ON
  • Nature Serve ID: 139974
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 01/01/1985

Solidago houghtonii is often accepted as a distinctive species, but its origins continue to be clouded. It is usually a hexaploid and thought to be a naturally occurring hybrid, but the actual parents are the source of controversy. Potential parents could be S. ptarmicoides, S. ohioensis, and S. riddellii whose offspring then crossed back with another S. ohioensis. Adding to the confusion, the New York populations are slightly different and might add S. uliginosa to their parentage. (Morton 1979; Semple and Ringius 1983; Michigan Natural Features Inventory 1996) Like many goldenrods, Houghton's is known for its small, bright yellow flowers at the top of an 8-20 inch stem. The flowers are arranged in a flat-topped cluster. The well-scattered leaves are smooth, narrow, 4-5 inches long, and slightly clasping at the base. The fine hairs on the branches of the flower cluster are also distinctive. Flowers appear most frequently in August. (Michigan Natural Features Inventory 1996)

Participating Institutions
Updates
Dawn M. Gerlica and Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

Increased human activity in shoreline areas Residential development Dune destabilization Disruption of the naturally occurring fluctuating water levels prevents dune habitat from forming, and then plants do not re-establish themselves Heavy foot a

Dawn M. Gerlica and Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

Michigan- This species occurs in about 60 sites within 9 counties of Michigan, although highest concentrations are in Mackinac, Emmet, Cheboygen, and Presque Isle. (Michigan Natural Features Inventory 1996) New York- There is at least one site confirmed in Genesee county and there are unconfirmed reports from Orleans county. (Young 2001) Ontario - Seven sites. (Ostlie 1990)

Dawn M. Gerlica and Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

None known

Dawn M. Gerlica and Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

None known

Dawn M. Gerlica and Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

Thorough study of all aspects of reproductive biology including pollinator identification, self-pollination ability, seed set and dispersal. Research is needed to determine the species actual origin and its level of genetic variability. (NatureServe Explorer 2001)

Dawn M. Gerlica and Lindsey Parsons
  • 01/01/2010

None known

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Photos
Nomenclature
Taxon Solidago houghtonii
Authority Torr. & Gray
Family Asteraceae
CPC Number 4043
ITIS 36267
USDA OLHO
Common Names Houghton's goldenrod
Associated Scientific Names Solidago houghtonii | Oligoneuron houghtonii | Aster houghtonii
Distribution Historically located in Michigan, New York, and Ontario
State Rank
State State Rank
Canada N2
Michigan S3
New York S1
Ontario S2
Habitat

This species is restricted to the shores of the Great Lakes, primarily Lake Huron and Michigan. The plants are usually found on moist, neutral to alkaline sandy lakeshores, and in shallow depressions between low sand ridges. Unlike the sandy habitat, they can also be found on seasonally wet limestone pavement of alvars. They may be subjected to fluctuating water levels and can be submerged during high water years, but seedlings reestablish themselves on the moist sand when the low water years come again. (Michigan Natural Features Inventory 1996; Ostlie 1990)

Ecological Relationships

Herbivores don't seem to pose a threat to this species. There has been limited damage sustained to this species from aphid infestations and direct consumption by larger animals. (Ostlie 1990)

Pollinators
Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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