Perennials, 30-60+ cm; rhizomatous and/or fibrous-rooted (rhizomes or caudices erect to horizontal). Stems 1 or 2-3+, clustered, glabrous or leaf axils tomentose. Basal leaves petiolate; blades cordate to reniform, 20-60 × 20-60 mm, bases abruptly contracted or ± cordate, margins crenate to crenate-serrate (apices rounded, faces glabrous). Cauline leaves gradually reduced (petiolate or sessile, not clasping; blades oblong to lyrate, lateral lobes 2-4 pairs). Heads 6-20+ in corymbiform to subumbelliform arrays. Peduncles bracteate, glabrous or sparsely tomentose. Calyculi inconspicuous. Phyllaries 13-21, green (tips purple or black), 6-8 mm, glabrous or sparsely tomentose proximally. Ray florets (8-)10-13; corolla laminae 8-10+ mm. Disc florets 55-70+; corolla tubes 3-3.5 mm, limbs 2-2.5 mm. Cypselae 1-1.5 mm, glabrous; pappi 4.5-5.5 mm. 2n = 44. Flowering late Feb-early May (south), late May-early Aug (north). Damp and swampy places in woodlands, meadows, along gravel banks and streambeds, acidic or sandy/gravelly soils; 0-1500 m; St. Pierre and Miquelon; Man., N.B., Nfld. and Labr., N.S., Ont., P.E.I., Que.; Ala., Ark., Conn., D.C., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Ky., Maine, Md., Mass., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., N.H., N.J., N.Y., N.C., N.Dak., Ohio, Okla., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.Dak., Tenn., Vt., Va., W.Va., Wis. Packera aurea is abundant and widespread throughout eastern United States and Canada. It reproduces asexually from branched rhizomes or from adventitious shoots. Putative hybrids between P. aurea and P. paupercula, P. pseudaurea,P.schweinitziana, and P. tomentosa have been reported.
From Flora of Indiana (1940) by Charles C. Deam
Infrequent to frequent in all parts of the state. It is usually found in wooded ravines on wet, alluvial plains along streams, wet borders of ponds, bogs, lakes, and marshes. This species is also variable and var. semicordatus has been segregated. This variety is described by Greenman as having the "lower leaves rotund-ovate to oblong-ovate, 1-8 cm long, 1-4 cm broad, usually rounded at the apex, shallowly cordate." Greenman has referred some of my specimens from Lagrange and Wells Counties to this variety. Since I am not convinced that this variety has taxonomic value, I am including it in the species. [Deam recognizes var. gracilis whose lower leaves are more ovate to oblong.] This variety is infrequent to rare, and I am not able to say with certainty whether it is found with the species or not. My recollection is that it is not. It is always found in very wet places such as bogs and marshes and never common where it is found. I have made no study of it in the field to ascertain how closely it is related to the species. Greenman gives the distribution as: "Occurring with the species."
Perennial 3-8 dm from a branched, rhizomatous caudex or creeping rhizome, often with stoloniform but coarse, leafy basal offshoots, lightly floccose-tomentose when young, soon essentially glabrous; basal lvs long-petiolate, some or all with ±strongly cordate blade, these generally broadly rounded distally, crenate, to 11 נ11 cm, mostly 0.75-1.5(-1.75) times as long as wide, often held at an angle to the petiole, parallel to the ground; cauline lvs conspicuously reduced and generally ±pinnatifid, becoming sessile upward; heads several or rather many, the disk 5-12 mm wide; invol 5-8 mm, its bracts often strongly purple-tipped; rays 6-13 mm; achenes glabrous; 2n=44, 66, ca 132. Moist woods and swampy places; Lab. to Minn., s. to N.C., n. Ga., and c. Ark.; Fla. Apr.-Aug. (S. gracilis)
Gleason, Henry A. & Cronquist, Arthur J. 1991. Manual of vascular plants of northeastern United States and adjacent Canada. lxxv + 910 pp.