Showy Goldenrod Great Lakes Plains population
Scientific Name: Solidago speciosa
Taxonomy Group: Vascular Plants
COSEWIC Range: Ontario
COSEWIC Assessment Date and Status Change: November 2010
COSEWIC Status: Endangered
COSEWIC Status Criteria: B1ab(iii,v)+2ab(iii,v); C1
COSEWIC Reason for Designation:
Two small populations of this showy perennial occur in remnant tallgrass prairie habitats in southwestern Ontario. Substantial declines in the number of mature individuals and the quality of habitat have been recorded and are projected to continue. Limiting factors include the encroachment of woody plants due to the lack of regular burning of the prairie habitats and other impacts such as the spread of invasive exotic plants, and seed predation that reduces the species’ ability to reproduce.
COSEWIC History of Status Designation: The species was considered a single unit and designated Endangered in April 1999. Status re-examined and confirmed in May 2000. Split into two populations in November 2010. The Great Lakes Plains population was designated Endangered in November 2010.
SARA Status: Schedule 1, Endangered
Date of Listing (yyyy-mm-dd): 2003-06-05
Please note that this information is provided for general information purposes only. For the most up to date and accurate list of species listed under the Species at Risk Act, please see the Justice Laws Website.
Showy Goldenrod(Solidago speciosa) is a perennial plant in the aster family. Plants have as many as 30 stems up to 1.5 m tall. These are typically unbranched, smooth, and usually reddish in colour with alternate, lance-shaped leaves. The inflorescence is large and showy, up to 30 cm long, consisting of many small, bright yellow compound flower heads arranged into a panicle. Its branches are erect, and do not curve downwards like those of other large goldenrods. Flowering in Ontario starts in late August to early September and continues into mid-October. Two subspecies of Showy Goldenrod have been recognized but only Solidago speciosa subspecies speciosa occurs in Canada. Two varieties of this subspecies are currently recognized (variety speciosa and variety rigidiuscula), but these are difficult to distinguish and have overlapping ranges in the United States. Only S. speciosa var. rigidiuscula is presently reported for Canada. However, this report also documents the occurrence of a population of Showy Goldenrod in northwestern Ontario near Kenora that differs morphologically from the Walpole Island plants. Consequently, the taxonomic status of Solidago speciosa requires further study. Showy Goldenrod is a popular garden plant sold widely in the U.S. horticultural trade as evident through web advertisements from suppliers in five states. Decoctions of various parts of the plant have been used medicinally. Showy Goldenrod infected by the Coleosporium rust fungus can cause sickness and death in cattle and horses. (Updated 2017/08/30)
Distribution and Population
The range of the entire species extends across much of the eastern United States, but also includes areas of Montana, Wyoming and Colorado. In Canada, Showy Goldenrodis restricted to Walpole Island First Nation (WIFN) in southwestern Ontario and another Ontario site northwest of Kenora. The latter population was recently discovered and extents the global range of the species considerably northwards. Much less than 1% of the total range of the species is in Canada. (Updated 2017/08/30)
On WIFN, Showy Goldenrod stands are found in moist oak savannah and open tallgrass prairie on sandy loam and sandy clay loam soils. Fire is an important factor in maintaining the tallgrass prairie and savannah habitat in which Showy Goldenrod grows. (Updated 2017/08/30)
Showy Goldenrod is a perennial that reproduces primarily by seed. Longevity in the wild is unknown, but garden plants will survive several years. Plants vary in size, producing 1 to 30 or more flowering shoots. The species is insect pollinated and the heavy, sticky pollen is carried by a wide assortment of insects including bees, wasps, flies, beetles, moths and butterflies. The caterpillars of many moths feed on various parts of this goldenrod. Additional insect feeders include various leafhoppers, lace bugs, plant bugs, and beetles. Seed predation by the larvae of an unidentified species of Casebearer Moth Family is prevalent on Showy Goldenrod at WIFN. (Updated 2017/08/30)
The major limiting factor for the Great Lakes Plains DU is the decline in tallgrass prairie and savannah habitat where the species occurs. Closing in of the canopy and encroachment by shrubs such as Staghorn Sumac may be causing a decline in the vigour of some plants. Conversion of habitat to agriculture, housing and other land uses has destroyed some sites and reduced the availability of habitat. A reduction in the frequency of fire is also reducing habitat availability. Excavation of sand, trampling, dumping and the spread of exotics are all ongoing threats. Mowing has likely caused the loss of part of one population. (Updated 2017/08/30)
The Showy Goldenrod, Great Lakes Plains population, is protected under the federal Species at Risk Act (SARA). More information about SARA, including how it protects individual species, is available in the Species at Risk Act: A Guide.
Provincial and Territorial Protection
PLEASE NOTE: Not all COSEWIC reports are currently available on the SARA Public Registry. Most of the reports not yet available are status reports for species assessed by COSEWIC prior to May 2002. Other COSEWIC reports not yet available may include those species assessed as Extinct, Data Deficient or Not at Risk. In the meantime, they are available on request from the COSEWIC Secretariat.
8 record(s) found.
- COSEWIC Status Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Response Statements (1 record(s) found.)
- Recovery Strategies (2 record(s) found.)
- Orders (2 record(s) found.)
- COSEWIC Annual Reports (1 record(s) found.)
- Related Information (1 record(s) found.)
COSEWIC Status Reports
COSEWIC Annual Reports
COSEWIC Annual Report - 2010 - 2011 (2011-09-09)Under Canada’s Species at Risk Act (SARA), the foremost function of COSEWIC is to “assess the status of each wildlife species considered by COSEWIC to be at risk and, as part of the assessment, identify existing and potential threats to the species”. COSEWIC held two Wildlife Species Assessment Meetings during the past year assessing the status or reviewing the classification of a total of 92 wildlife species.