CPC Plant Profile: Short's Goldenrod
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Plant Profile

Short's Goldenrod (Solidago shortii)

A closeup of the yellow aster flowers of Short's goldenrod. Photo Credit: Casey Galvin
  • Global Rank: G1 - Critically Imperiled
  • Legal Status: Federally Endangered
  • Family: Asteraceae
  • State: IN, KY
  • Nature Serve ID: 140598
  • Date Inducted in National Collection: 02/10/1987

Short's goldenrod is named after its discoverer, Dr. Charles Short, who found the plant in 1840 growing on a limestone outcrop in Kentucky known as Rock Island. This island was located within the Falls of the Ohio River between Clarksville, Indiana and Louisville, Kentucky. Construction of locks and a dam at the Falls in the early 1900's altered the Island to the point that the species was considered extinct for a number of decades. However, in 1939 E. Lucy Braun, a well-known ecologist, discovered a population in the Blue Lick Springs area of eastern Kentucky. Until 2002, this and another location in Kentucky contained the only known populations of this species in the world. However, in 2002, ecologists with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources Division of Nature Preserves discovered a new population of this species--the first in the state--while conducting a botanical and natural area inventory. (Braun 1941; Indiana Department of Natural Resources 2002)

Participating Institutions
  • 09/30/2020
  • Genetic Research

Genetic analyses of Solidago shortii are being conducted by Pat Calie (of Eastern Kentucky University) and colleagues

Nature Serve Biotics
  • 05/02/2017

Known only from northern Kentucky, and adjacent Indiana. The few known natural occurrences are all clustered in a small area near the juncture of Fleming, Nicholas, and Robertson counties, Kentucky. Buchele et al. (1989) counted over 73,000 stems in this small area but noted that since the species reproduces vegetatively, the large number of stems may represent relatively few individual genotypes. Previously thought extirpated from Indiana, but a naturally occurring population of Solidago shortii was found by Natural Heritage botanists on August 2001 in Harrison County, Indiana (M. Homoya, pers. comm.). All occurrences of this species are small remnant patches of glade/forest complex and none continuously covers more than an acre. Population sizes are small. Species is highly localized which makes it vulnerable to catastrophic population impacts such as disease.

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Inadvertent trampling and destruction Habitat modification or loss Over-collecting Destructive fires (USFWS 1988)

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Over 73,000 shoots in 14 populations in three counties in Kentucky, however, the large number of stems may represent only a few unique genotypes (Buchele 1989) (see Research Summary) One recently discovered population in southern Indiana contains an unknown number of individuals (Indiana Department of Natural Resources 2002).

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Research has been performed on the following topics: Plant propagation Ecological life history and reproductive biology Ecophysiology Demography Seed germination rates under varying conditions Genetic analyses of Solidago shortii are being conducted by Pat Calie (of Eastern Kentucky University) and colleagues

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Many Solidago shortii plants are located in a 1.5-acre area that has been dedicated as a nature preserve. Most populations are being managed, either advertently or inadvertently, to keep each site in an early state of succession. This includes periodic removal of woody vegetation, as well as selective cutting and burning, grazing and mowing.

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Research in the following areas is needed: Causes for variation in seedling survivorship among sites Reasons for limited population establishment and growth Possible mycorrhizal relationship Management considerations include: Consider establishing additional populations within the historic range

Kimberlie McCue, Ph.D.
  • 01/01/2010

Seed storage Assess genetic variation


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Taxon Solidago shortii
Authority Torr. & A. Gray
Family Asteraceae
CPC Number 4048
ITIS 36305
Common Names Short's goldenrod
Associated Scientific Names Solidago shortii | Aster rafinesquii
Distribution Endemic to a 12.2 km2 area of Kentucky (USFWS 1988).
State Rank
State State Rank
Indiana S1
Kentucky S1

Occurs in a variety of dry, mostly open habitats with shallow, clay soils, including limestone glades, edges of open woods, old fields, power line rights-of-way and rock ledges along highways. (USFWS 1988)Occurs with Juniperus virginiana, Cercis canadensis, Cornus drummondii, Solidago nemoralis

Ecological Relationships

Solidago shortii reproduces vegetatively by rhizomes and sexually by seeds. Its bright yellow flowers are self-incompatible, so they require cross pollination by insects. The goldenrod soldier beetle, Chauliognathus pennsylvanicus, is the most frequent visitor to flowers of this species.

Common Name Name in Text Association Type Source InteractionID

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