Plants 50–120 cm; caudices branching. Stems 1 usually, erect, round, proximally glabrous, strigose in arrays. Leaves: basal and proximal cauline tapering abruptly to winged, thin petioles, blades broadly ovate, 100–300 × 30–100 mm, margins sharply serrate, apices acute to acuminate, adaxial faces glabrous or slightly scabrous, or sometimes strigose or strigillose; mid to distal cauline sessile, lanceolate, 50–72 × 10–14 mm, reduced distally, becoming entire. Heads 25–250, secund, in open, leafy, paniculiform arrays with recurved branches (sometimes elongate), branches and peduncles hairy. Peduncles 1.5–3 mm, glabrous or moderately short hispido-strigose, bracteoles 1–5, lanceolate-oblong, often grading into phyllaries. Involucres 2.5–4.5(–5) mm. Phyllaries in 3–4 series, unequal; outer ovate, acute, inner linear-oblong, ciliate, obtuse. Ray florets 2–8; laminae 4–4.5 × 0.4–0.6 mm. Disc florets 8–20; corollas 3.5–4 mm, lobes 0.6–1.5 mm. Cypselae 1.5–2 mm, distinctly ridged, glabrous or strigose distally; pappi 3–3.5 mm.
Ont., Ala., Ark., Conn., Del., Fla., Ga., Ill., Kans., Ky., La., Maine, Mass., Md., Miss., Mo., N.C., N.H., N.J., N.Y., Ohio, Okla., Pa., S.C., Tenn., Tex., Va., Vt., W.Va.
Subspecies 2 (2 in the flora).
Solidago arguta is reputedly in Ohio but its presence there is unconfirmed. The species includes a number of regional and ecotypal races investigated by G. H. Morton (1973, 1975). A. Cronquist (1980) is followed here.
|1||Cypselae glabrous; s Maine to Virginia, w to Kentucky, Tennessee, and s Missouri||29a.Solidago arguta var. arguta|
|1||Cypselae strigillose (at least distally); Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia, south||> 2|
|2||Leaves relatively firm, the basal usually proximally ± truncate; (shale barrens) e Kentucky, w Maryland, w Pennsylvnia, w Virginia, e WestVirginia||29a.Solidago arguta var. harrisii|
|2||Leaves less firm, the basal tapering; Virginia to n Florida, w to Kentucky, occasional in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Missouri||> 3|
|3||Leaves glabrous; Virginia to n Florida, w to West Virginia, Kentucky and occasionally to s Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana||29b.Solidago arguta var. caroliniana|
|3||Leaves (especially the proximal) strigose or strigillose; (drier places) Alabama to South Carolina, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, s Missouri, Tennessee||29b.Solidago arguta var. boottii|