First of all, how beautiful and evocative is the common name, goldenrod? The genus name is equally so, Solidago.
The plants above are blooming in the small garden I've mentioned previously near Manhattan's entry to the Brooklyn Bridge.
I used to mistakenly suspect the Latin name was referring to goldenrod's sunny yellow flowers. But, in fact, the root of the name is derived from solidus, meaning whole or (obviously) solid. The healing properties that some believe goldenrod held inspired Linnaeus himself to call this plant Solidago.
Here's another specimen growing in northern Connecticut:
I'm fairly certain that this is Solidago canadensis or Canadian goldenrod, though a handful of different species can grow in this area, all fairly similar-looking.
There are 100 species of goldenrod, total. They are primarily native to the Americas, though some are found in Asia.
In addition to their alleged healing properties, Solidago also has a natural rubber in its fibers -- in fact the tires of the Model T were made from goldenrod.