Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Floral autumn in March

with 20 comments

Goldenrod Flowering in March 7245

While driving into my neighborhood along Morado Circle at the end of the first week in March I noticed an anomaly: a flowering goldenrod plant. If you know goldenrod, you know that it normally blooms in the fall or occasionally in late summer, so what this one was doing flowering in March I have no idea.

This goldenrod might be Solidago nemoralis. The genus is glommed-together Latin for ‘I make whole,’ a reference to the reputed medicinal value of some goldenrods; the species name suggests that the plant grows in the woods or in the shade of trees.

After passing this prodigy by car for several days, I went back with my camera and ring flash on the drizzly morning of March 10 to take some pictures, including the one you see here.

© 2016 Steven Schwartzman

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Written by Steve Schwartzman

March 13, 2016 at 5:18 AM

20 Responses

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  1. Remarkable! That is really unusual. Things do fall apart!

    elmdriveimages

    March 13, 2016 at 5:53 AM

    • “Fall apart” is a good play on words about this plant that normally blooms in the autumn.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 13, 2016 at 6:30 AM

  2. Odd for it to be blooming now. Is it very late, or very early?

    Jim Ruebush

    March 13, 2016 at 6:14 AM

    • When something is half a year out of phase you can make the case either way equally well, can’t you? Perhaps a botanist would know other features of the plant that could distinguish between way too early and way too late.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 13, 2016 at 6:34 AM

      • Until you find out for certain, I vote for it being a late bloomer. Otherwise, where does that phrase originate? 🙂

        Jim Ruebush

        March 13, 2016 at 6:45 AM

        • The phrase certainly doesn’t originate in Benjamin Franklin’s “early to rise.” This goldenrod definitely looks healthy enough, even if wealthy and wise don’t apply.

          Steve Schwartzman

          March 13, 2016 at 6:53 AM

  3. I saw one very small goldenrod plant blooming at my nature center a couple of weeks ago. It was a single stalk, and only about 12″ high, but the flowers were bright and cheery as these — though not as numerous. For such a small plant, it certainly had a presence, in the midst of all the brown and gray.

    Because it had grown up in an open, grassy area away from where I’ve found goldenrod before, I assumed it was a new plant, growing from seed.

    shoreacres

    March 13, 2016 at 7:17 AM

    • Another prodigy, yours from over by the coast: I wonder how widespread the blooming of goldenrod has been in Texas this month. My Austin specimen was barely more than a foot tall also. In contrast to yours, mine was in an area where I’d seen a little goldenrod in previous years, and there was a spent and dried-out flower stalk adjacent to this one. I don’t know if mine was from an existing plant or from a new plant risen from seed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 13, 2016 at 9:44 AM

  4. It is disturbing to see a plant so far out of step. Way back when I was in college some of my professors would talk about global warming and what the ramifications would be~it sounded like science fiction back then. One of the things mentioned was plants blooming completely out of sync with their fellows, thus disrupting pollination and also life cycles of creatures that depend on them.

    melissabluefineart

    March 13, 2016 at 9:19 AM

    • It just occurred to me that if goldenrod flowered only out of its traditional season, then the match with pollinators could be disrupted, but I still expect the normal complement of goldenrod here in the fall. Might this out-of-its-traditional-season stray provide opportunities for insects in addition to the ones they still have in the fall? Similarly, if non-winter winters become common, might insects hatch out earlier in the spring to take advantage of the warm weather? Nature has proved flexible in many ways, so there are many precedents for adaptation.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 13, 2016 at 9:56 AM

  5. There is “Spring-flowering Goldenrod” but that only grows in the Carolinas according to the USDA map. So that’s not likely what you found. Maybe the goldenrods are revolting a revolting situation.

    Steve Gingold

    March 14, 2016 at 2:44 AM

    • Thanks for the information about spring-flowering goldenrod, even though that’s apparently not what I found far from the Carolinas. I wonder how that species came to flower in the spring, which is on the opposite side of the year from its many genus-mates.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 14, 2016 at 5:36 AM

  6. I wonder what nature is telling us?

    Julie@frogpondfarm

    March 14, 2016 at 12:22 PM

    • That’s beyond me, I’m afraid. I just take pictures and hope for some enlightenment along the way.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 14, 2016 at 4:11 PM

  7. That is a beautiful Goldenrod specimen. I was able to get one here at a nursery in Oregon, and found it easily propagates like mint from cuttings in water. Goldenrod was one of my favorite wildflowers from back east.

    Lavinia Ross

    March 14, 2016 at 8:09 PM

    • Agreed. It’s a well defined specimen and of course thoroughly unexpected in March.

      I took a look at the Solidago maps at

      http://bonap.net/NAPA/TaxonMaps/Genus/County/Solidago

      and saw that while goldenrods are more common in the East, there are several species native to Oregon, so some could even spring up naturally on your farm in addition to the one you got from a nursery.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 14, 2016 at 9:15 PM

  8. Your dedication to getting the shot never ceases to impress me! And yes, it’s worth it. 🙂
    K

    kathryningrid

    March 21, 2016 at 11:32 AM

    • I’m pleased to have made a good and worthy impression. I checked out this goldenrod a couple of hours ago and found its flowers are beginning to fade after having a good run of several weeks.

      Steve Schwartzman

      March 21, 2016 at 6:22 PM


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