Found in the wild only in the Southern Appalachian Mountains in Tennessee and North Carolina, this little-known species in the Solidago (Goldenrod) genus is an extremely garden-worthy plant. In the wild, Clustered Goldenrod grows in moist, high-elevation Appalachian Forests. It can form a solid ground cover under forests of Red Spruce and Fraser fir, and really proliferates in protected openings. Clustered goldenrod is quite different from other goldenrods, in that it is relatively low-growing and the flowers occur in clusters along the flower stalks instead of in the typical sprays of flowers at the very tops of the stems. The leaves are also very different from most goldenrods - They are large, wide, and strap-like, while most goldenrods have thin, small leaves. The other name, Skunk goldenrod, comes from the fact that the plants give off a sweet, musky aroma (Seems to be a hint of lemon thrown in, as well) in humid weather and on warm days when the sun first hits them. In the Mountains, this combined with the balsamic scent of Fraser Fir and the sweet smell of mountain grass, makes up the characteristic "Mountain Smell" of the high country. It really doesn't smell bad!
Clustered goldenrod does have a number of uses. It is especially useful as a nectar plant - Bees and butterflies cover the airy blooms in Late Summer! Clustered goldenrod can also be used (I imagine) as a source of musk fragrance for perfume. The plant itself makes a nice groundcover in moist shade.
Clustered Goldenrod does make a nice plant for the garden - Use it as a groundcover under evergreens or in partial shade (such as the East side of the house). Plants seem to perform best in moist, shady areas, though they will bloom much heavier with a little sun. Too much sun or a hot location seems to cause the plants to perform poorly (As could be imagined by their cool, moist Mountain origins); We have some at the nursery growing under the shade of Eastern White Pines and Norway Spruce, and they make an excellent groundcover. Some of the plants disappeared in the drought of 2012, only to grow out fresh and vigorous as ever once the Autumn Rains returned.
These plants are very pretty planted with evergreens, especially Firs (With which they are found in the wild!). You might use them as a ground cover in between young conifer plantings, as they can take both sun and shade.
|Common Name:||Skunk Goldenrod|
|Botanical Name:||Solidago glomerata|
|Availability:||Available May 2020|