37. Solidago sphacelata Rafinesque, Ann. Nat. 1: 14. 1820.
False or autumn goldenrod
Brachychaeta cordata (Short & R. Peter) Torrey & A. Gray; B. sphacelata (Rafinesque) Britton; Brachyris ovatifolia de Candolle; Solidago cordata Short & R. Peter
Plants 50–120 cm; rhizomes short, caudexlike or somewhat elongate. Stems usually 1, ascending to erect or arching, densely spreading-puberulent to occasionally subglabrous. Leaves: basal (rosettes) present at flowering, conspicuously petiolate, petioles slightly winged distally, to 100 mm, blades cordate, 40–120 × 40–110 mm, margins coarsely sharp-serrate, apices acute to acuminate, abaxial faces moderately to densely spreading-puberulent, adaxial sparsely so or glabrate; mid and distal cauline progressively reduced, less petiolate, blades ovate to lanceolate, less cordate distally, 40–60 × 20–30 mm, margins finely serrate. Heads 50–250, densely crowded, often subglomerate, in secund paniculiform arrays, proximal branches few, widely spreading, secund, elongate, distal short, recurved. Peduncles 0–1 mm, sparsely hispido-strigose, bracteoles 1–4, lanceolate-ovate, grading into phyllaries. Involucres narrowly campanulate, 3–4.5 mm. Phyllaries in 2–3 series, ovate, strongly unequal, outer somewhat keeled, firm, margins ciliate. Ray florets 3–6; laminae ca. 1 × 0.5–0.7 mm. Disc florets 3–6; corollas 2–2.5 mm, lobes 0.75–1.2 mm. Cypselae 1–2 mm, sparsely short-strigose; pappi ca. 0.5 mm (forming many-bristled crown on longer cypselae). 2n = 18.
Flowering (Jul–)Aug–Sep(–Oct). Open woods and rocky places, especially in calcareous soil, mountains and adjacent eroded plateaus; 100–1000+ m; Ala., Ga., Ill., Ind., Ky., Miss., N.C., Ohio, Tenn., Va., W.Va.
The vernacular name false goldenrod comes from the erroneous assignment of the species to the genus Brachychaeta rather than to Solidago, where it belongs.