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Dune Goldenrod (Solidago simplex var. gillmanii)

Life history

Species overview

Dune Goldenrod (Solidago simplex var. gillmanii), a Wisconsin Threatened plant, is found on semi-stabilized dunes along Lake Michigan. Blooming occurs early August through early October; fruiting occurs late September through late October. The optimal identification period for this species is late August through early September.

Synonyms: Solidago simplex ssp. randii, Solidago gillmanii, Solidago glutinosa var. gillmanii, Solidago humilis var. gillmanii, Solidago racemosa var. gillmanii, Solidago spathulata var. gillmanii


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Middle cauline leaves linear to oblanceolate or lance-elliptic, but not at all rhombic.
  • Flower characteristics: Larger heads (6 to 9 mm) in a long, often branched inflorescence; rays 7 to 10.
  • Fruit characteristics: Short-hairy achenes.
  • Leaf characteristics: Basally disposed, the larger ones narrowly oblanceolate to narrowly obovate, 2 to 30 cm long and 4 to 40 mm wide, toothed or subentire, generally acute, often with irregular, fine hairs along the margins; cauline leaves progressively reduced, mostly lance-elliptic to oblanceolate or linear.


  • Blooming phenology: early August through early October
  • Fruiting phenology: late September through late October
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is late August through early September


  • Growth form: Forb-erect
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Calamovilfa longifolia ssp. magna, Artemisia caudata, Elymus canadensis, Calamagrostis inexpansa, Potentilla anserina, Elymus lanceolatus ssp. psammophilus, Diervilla lonicera, Cirsium pitcheri, Tanacetum huronense.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Dune Goldenrod (Solidago simplex var. gillmanii). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Solidago simplex var. gillmanii in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusTHR
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
Global RankG5T3?
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found on semi-stabilized dunes along Lake Michigan.
  • Soils: Rocky and sandy soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Dune Goldenrod. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Natural communities score
Great Lakes Beach 3
Great Lakes Dune 3

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Dune Goldenrod. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.
  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Avoid disturbance to shorelines and the forest-beach interface.
  • Avoid any activities which destabilize the dune, including the use of off-road vehicles, removal of native vegetation and pedestrian recreational overuse.


Dune Goldenrod Photo.

Photo by  staff, Wisconsin DNR.

Dune Goldenrod Photo.

Photo by Thomas Meyer, Wisconsin DNR.

Dune Goldenrod Photo.

Photo © William S. Alverson.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition