Solidago juncea is a perennial herb, 30 cm to 1.2 m tall from a short root crown, diffusely colonial from deeper, creeping rhizomes, stems few, smooth.
Leaves alternate; basal leaves in tufts, near bases of flowering stems, lance-shaped, often widest above middle, large, 15-40 cm long, 2-7.5 cm wide, tip long-pointed, surface hairless, flat, almost smooth to rather rough, margins rough, sharply fine-toothed (serrate), secondary veins obscure above, slightly raised below, at acute angle to midrib and looped together near margins, base tapering to a long, winged stalk; stem leaves smaller, decreasing upwards and becoming linear, sessile, upper leaves with axillary tufts that develop into inflorescence branches, margin entire or lower ones with few fine teeth, odor of crushed foliage weedy-aromatic, typical goldenrod scent.
Flowers yellow, of two types in small heads, rays 7-12, minute, disk flowers 9-14, flower heads 0.3-0.5 cm long, basal bracts blunt; inflorescence dense, asymmetric, branches curved outward, flower heads on one side; flowers self-incompatible, pollinated by bees feeding on nectar and pollen, also visited by wasps, flies and soldier beetles, (Gross and Werner 1983); blooms July-Sept., usually blooming before other Solidago sp. Flowers eaten by Blister beetles, Epicauta pennsylvanica.
Fruit dry achenes, hairy with white bristles, wind dispersed through fall. Seeds eaten by some birds, foliage eaten by mice, rabbits and deer (Martin et al. 1951).
Wetland status: UPL.
Frequency in NYC: Frequent.
Habitat: Dry to moist, open upland areas, fill, berms, roadsides.