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Solidago flexicaulis

Zigzag goldenrod, Broadleaf goldenrod

Plant Details

Common Name: Zigzag goldenrod, Broadleaf goldenrod
Family: Asteraceae (aster family)
Mature Height: 2 - 5'
Sun Requirement: Part shade to shade, Shade
Moisture Requirement: Dry - medium, Medium - moist
Flower Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Fall (September - October)
Seed Collection Date: Fall (September - October), Winter (November – February)

Solidago flexicaulis Zig-zag goldenrod
Solidago flexicaulis Zig-zag goldenrod
Solidago flexicaulis Zig-zag goldenrod

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Solidago is from Latin meaning to make whole, an allusion to reputed healing qualities; flexicaulis  is from Latin meaning having a flexible stem.

Native Habitat

Woodlands and thickets.

Garden Uses

This is an interesting goldenrod with attractive foliage for a shady woodland garden. If not deadheaded, it will seed around and fill in empty areas.


This is a perennial woodland species that does best in sun-dappled part shade, but will also grow in full shade. It grows in clumps in average, well-drained soil. It may self-seed in the garden and spread by rhizomes.

Leaves and Stems

The leaves are 2 -7” long, broad-ovate, alternately arranged and have toothed margins and sharply pointed tips. The leaves become smaller as they rise on the stem. The sometimes zigzag erect stems give this goldenrod one of its common names. Stems sometimes have tiny hairs.


The central stalks are terminated by narrow panicles or racemes of golden flower heads. Smaller flower clusters occur lower on the stems originating in the leaf axils. Each flowerhead is ¼” across with 3-4 ray florets and 4-8 disc-shaped florets.


In autumn the florets mature into bullet shaped achenes crowned by tufts of hair. The achenes are distributed by wind and offsets form from the underground rhizomes.

Animal Associates

Native bees, wasps, butterflies, and pollinating flies seek nectar and pollen from the flowers, as do honeybees. Plants host caterpillars of several moth species.  Seeds are eaten by songbirds and upland game birds. White-tailed deer graze on the foliage.


May be grown from seed and rhizomes. Seeds disperse over time from fall into winter.

Ethnobotanical Uses

Goldenrod is believed to possess diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and astringent properties and has long been used to relieve urinary tract disorders.

Garden Location

Performance Hall Garden (see garden map)

Anecdotal Information

The name goldenrod refers to the flowering plant’s appearance as a golden scepter.


Missouri Botanical Garden

Native Plant Trust 

New Moon Nursery

Siberian Cedar Land

Plant Profile by Kathy Kling