Click on terms for botanical definitions.
Seaside goldenrod’s conspicuous golden blooms can be seen on dunes, in tidal marshes and bogs, in sandy flatwoods, along roadsides, and in disturbed areas. This plant grows throughout Florida but, as its common name suggests, it is primarily found in coastal counties. It attracts butterflies and other pollinators with its nectar, and also attracts birds that are searching for insects.
The bright yellow flowers of Seaside goldenrod are borne in clusters on terminal spikelike racemes. Individual flowers are comprised of many tubular disk florets; ray florets are absent. Basal leaves are glabrous, strap-like and alternately arranged. Stem leaves are sessile and reduced. The fruit is a pubescent achene.
Goldenrods in general get a bad rap as allergy instigators, but this is merely a misconception. The real culprit tends to be ragweed, which blooms at the same time of year but is far less noticeable in the landscape. Ragweed pollen is lightweight and buoyant, making it easily airborne — and easier for us to inhale. Goldenrod has heavier pollen; it is less likely to catch the wind or find its way to our noses.
Family: Asteraceae (Aster, daisy or composite family)
Native range: Most coastal Panhandle counties, much of peninsular Florida
To see where natural populations of seaside goldenrod have been vouchered, visit florida.plantatlas.usf.edu.
Soil: Well-drained, sandy soils
Exposure: Full sun to partial shade
Growth habit: 3–5’ tall in bloom
Propagation: Seed, division, cuttings
Garden tips: Seaside goldenrod does best in dry, sunny conditions. This will keep its height in check and allow it to produce more blooms. It has a tendency to spread, and thus is better suited to mass plantings rather than small areas. It is also salt-tolerant.
Seaside goldenrod seeds are available through the Florida Wildflowers Growers Cooperative. Plants are often available at nurseries that specialize in native plants. Visit PlantRealFlorida.org to find a native nursery in your area.