Plants 60-160 cm; caudices woody. Stems 1-5+ , erect, straight, moderately hairy in arrays. Leaves: basal withering by flowering; proximal cauline subpetiolate or sessile, tapering to broadly winged petiole-like bases, blades lanceolate, 110-180 × 2-35 mm, margins serrate (with 7-15 teeth), apices acuminate, abaxial faces sparsely hairy along nerves, adaxial glabrous or sparsely hairy; distal cauline sessile, blades narrowly elliptic, 60-110 × 11-15 mm, margins entire to slightly serrate (teeth 0-6), apices acuminate-cuspidate, faces glabrous or sparsely hairy. Heads 80-400 (usually 4-10 per branch) in short axillary and terminal racemiform/paniculiform arrays 11-43 cm. Peduncles 1-5 mm, moderately strigose; bracteoles linear, 0-2. Involucres campanulate 6.4-8.5(-9) mm. Phyllaries in 3-4 series, unequal, 3-10-nerved, acute to obtuse; outermost linear-lanceolate to narrowly ovate, 1.7-2.4 mm, innermost linear-oblong, 4-6 mm. Ray florets 5-8; laminae 2.3-4.5 × 1-1.5 mm. Disc florets (5-)6.2-8.1(-12); corollas (2.8-)3-3.3(-3.9) mm, lobes (1.3-)1.5-1.8(-2.1) mm. Cypselae (narrowly obconic) 1-1.7(-2) mm, moderately to densely strigillose; pappi (3.4-)4-5 mm. 2n = 90. Flowering late Aug-Sep. Woods, shaded to full sun along road embankments , at higher elevations; 1100-1500+ m; N.C., Tenn. A few atypical plants of Solidago lancifolia with multinerved phyllaries grow along the border of Virginia and West Virginia.
Much like no. 19 [Solidago curtisii Torr. & A. Gray]; rhizome commonly elongate; infl in considerable or large part terminal and thyrsoid, with much reduced lvs, only the lower part consisting of axillary clusters; heads relatively large and coarse, the invol 4.5-7 mm, tending to be finely granular-glandular or glandular-puberulent, its bracts strongly 3-nerved, the larger ones ca 1 mm wide or more at or above midlength; rays 5-8; disk-fls 6-12. Upper elev. (mostly above 1500 m) in the mts. of Va., N.C., and Tenn.
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.