Asked May 31, 2019, 1:56 PM EDT

I have two plants in my relatively new monarch garden that I believe are weeds but I would like to verify first. The one titled goldenrod came up where I had planted goldrenrod that appeared to die the year I planted it (last year). The second picture is of two of several plants that emerged near my swamp milkweed, which at first I thought was swamp milkweed but now I can tell it's not.

Harford County Maryland

11 Responses

We cannot identify the first photo yet, though we can say it is not a common weed or wildflower. We recommend that you let it flower and then quickly send us another photo. We should be able to id it then. That will still give you plenty of time to remove it before it sets seed, should it be undesirable.

The second photo is a goldenrod.


Hi Ellen, just wanted to give you an update that the plant in question is now about 5 ft tall and doesn't appear to be giving any indication of flowering.

Do you recall if you planted large-leaved asters or wood asters? They are native plants that look similar to this, based on the leaf shape and leaf arrangement-- and they can get tall. We really would need to see flowers in order to identify these.


yes, they have come up between/among my plantings of purple dome aster and swamp milkweed. The purple dome aster is very much a clump, as opposed to these things that are single, tall shoots.

Send us the photos of the flowers when they finally arrive.


The plants (several six foot tall stalks) seem to have now flowered, and the "flowers" look a little like goldenrod, see attached. Do these updated photos give you any better idea on what this is?

Ok, now I'm really confused. In my original question from May 31 I attached a picture of another nearby plant and was told that was goldenrod. I'm attaching two updated pics of that plant, which is only about a foot tall and, except for the flowers, looks nothing like the tall plant you are telling me now is goldenrod.

This is a type of goldenrod, Solidago sp. There are about 33 species not counting the cultivars. Take a look at Maryland Biodiversity for more information https://www.marylandbiodiversity.com/viewChecklist.php?genus=Solidago


wow, very interesting, thank you! So I guess since I didn't intentionally plant this, but it's part of the aster family and I did buy and plant different types of asters, it was maybe a stowaway from another plant?

In their early stages of growth, goldenrods and asters look very similar, and there are many species of both, so it is possible that a plant could have been mislabelled or toted along as a stowaway. The shorter goldenrod with rounder leaves looks like it might be Solidago sphacelata, possibly the 'Golden Fleece' cultivar, which has a lower growth habit than some of the other goldenrods. https://garden.org/thread/view/39039/Goldenrod-Solidago-sphacelata-Golden-Fleece/