Plants 30-120 cm; caudices erect, branched, thick. Stems usually single, erect, essentially glabrous basally to hispidulo-puberulent in arrays. Leaves: basal and proximal cauline tapering to long, winged petioles (quickly reduced distally on stems), blades broadly oblanceolate to obovate, 40-150 × 15-50 mm, margins serrate, finely ciliate, apices acute to obtuse, faces glabrous; mid and distal cauline sessile, blades linear-elliptic, 5-50 × 2-10 mm, margins entire, finely ciliate. Heads 15-350 (1-10 per branch), clustered on short divergent lateral branches in elongate and usually narrowly paniculiform arrays, often interrupted proximally, not secund, sometimes with ascending, straight or arching, elongate branches (like main axis). Peduncles 1-3 mm. Involucres narrowly campanulate, 3.5-6.5 mm. Phyllaries in 3-5 series, appressed, strongly unequal, outer ovate, inner broadly oblong, obtuse to rounded, glabrous. Ray florets 5-9; laminae 2.5-3.5 × 0.7-1 mm. Disc florets commonly 6-10; corollas 4 mm, lobes ca. 1 mm. Cypselae (tan) ca. 2.5 mm, glabrous; pappi 3 mm. 2n = 18. Flowering Aug-Oct. Dry woods, disturbed open soils, road embankments; 0-1000 m; Ala., Conn., Del., Ga., Ind., Ky., Md., Mass., Miss., N.J., N.Y., N.C., Ohio, Pa., S.C., Tenn., Va., W.Va. Solidago erecta is mostly absent from the coastal plain in the southeastern United States.
Plants 3-12 dm from a branched caudex, essentially glabrous below the puberulent infl; lvs basally disposed, the larger ones broadly oblanceolate to obovate or elliptic, 7-30 נ1.5-5 cm, the middle cauline ones commonly 0.5-2 cm wide; infl elongate and narrow, often interrupted below, not at all secund, sometimes with a few long, straight or arching, cylindrical branches like the main axis; invol 3.5-6.5 mm; rays 5-9, averaging less deeply yellow than in S. hispida; disk-fls 6-10; achenes glabrous, seldom less than 2.5 mm long; 2n=18. Dry woods; coastal Mass.; N.J. to s. O. and Ind., s. to Ga. and Miss. Very distinct from S. hispida where their ranges overlap.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.