Plants 30-120 cm; caudices branching, sometimes with elongate rhizomes forming new rosettes. Stems 1-10+ , erect, glabrous, sometimes sparsely hairy in arrays; usually with fascicles of small leaves in axils of distal leaves. Leaves: basal and proximal cauline tapering gradually to winged petioles, blades oblanceolate to ovate, 100-300 × 20-70 mm, usually multiple lateral nerves pronounced, margins sharply serrate, ciliate, faces glabrous; mid to distal cauline sessile, blades linear-lanceolate, 30-50 × 8-11 mm, reduced distally, margins entire or finely serrate. Heads 60-450 , secund, in paniculiform arrays, openly secund-pyramidal with proximal branches spreading-recurved, or as broad as long with proximal branches widely ascending, recurved (elm-tree shaped). Peduncles 1.5-6 mm, glabrous or sparsely strigillose; bracteoles 0-2, linear. Involucres narrowly campanulate, 3-4 mm. Phyllaries in 3-4 series, strongly unequal, outer ovate, acute, inner lanceolate, obtuse. Ray florets 7-12; laminae 2-2.5 × 0.2-0.5 mm. Disc florets 8-15; corollas 2.5-3 mm, lobes 0.5-0.8 mm. Cypselae 0.9-1.5 mm, sparsely strigose; pappi 2.5-3.5 mm. 2n = 18. Flowering Jul-Sep. Open sandy soils, disturbed areas, fields; 0-1000+ m; Man., N.B., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que.; Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., Ga., Ill., Ind., Ky., La., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., R.I., S.C., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis. Several varieties of Solidago juncea have been described; they do not appear to warrant recognition, each grading into the other.
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
This is our early goldenrod and is more or less frequent throughout the state. It is generally found in small colonies in dry soils along roadsides, railroads, and fences and on dry gravelly or clayey knolls in open woodland.
Plants 3-12 dm from a stout, branched caudex or short rhizome, commonly with ±deep-seated creeping rhizomes as well, essentially glabrous, or sometimes ±short-hirsute on the lvs or in the infl; lvs basally disposed, the larger ones 15-40 נ2-7.5 cm, with rather narrowly elliptic-acuminate, ±serrate blade tapering to the long petiole; infl dense, mostly about as broad as long, with recurved-secund branches; invol 3-5 mm; rays 7-12, minute; disk fls 9-14; receptacle with some slender, chaffy, phyllary-like bracts near the margin internal to the rays; achenes short-hairy; 2n=18. Dry, open places and open woods, especially in sandy soil; N.S. and N.B. to Minn., s. to Va., Tenn., ne. Miss., Mo., and in the mts. to n. Ga. and n. Ala.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.