Velvety or Three-nerved Goldenrod

Solidago velutina DC. is native to the western U.S. and the mountains in eastern Mexico.  The species occurs in the Rocky Mts. and Great Basin from Montana and Idaho in the US to Zacatecas in Mexico in pine and oak woods and more open areas on sandy and rocky soils. 

Solidago velutina range draft JCS

The species includes considerable variation in leaf shape and venation and inflorescence shape and branch density.  Peduncles tend to be sparsely strigose and the phyllaries are usually lanceolate and lack hairs but may be slightly minutely glandular.

Nesom (1989) lumped S. californica, S. sparsiflora and S. velutina into a single species without infraspecific taxa.  Semple et al. (1990) recognized S. californica and S. sparsiflora, but did not include S. velutina in the narrow sense in their multivariate study of S. nemoralis and some related species.  In the FNA treatment of Solidago, the two races native to the U.S. were included in S. velutina as subspecies (Semple & Cook 2006 FNA). 

The results of multivariate study of all taxa in subsect. Nemorales (Semple et al. 2018) indicate that S. californica should be treated as separate from a more eastern S. velutina, which cannot be split non-arbitrarily into northern and southern races.  Thus, S. sparsiflora A. Gray and S. velutina ssp. sparsilfora (A. Gray) Semple should be treated as synonyms of S. velutina.

The species includes diploids 2n=18, tetraploids 2n=36, and hexaploids 2n=54.