The leaves of Stiff goldenrod (Oligoneuron rigidum/Solida rigida) have been my inspiration for a few new botanical works of art recently. I planted this native wildflower in my yard ~5 years ago, and it seems quite happy here. 🙂 Like the rest of the native species in my yard, I planted it because of the ecological value it adds to the landscape, as well as the aesthetic value.

Stiff goldenrod artwork – watercolor

I completed this watercolor and gouache painting last week:  A stiff goldenrod leaf exhibiting characteristic signs of feeding by Goldenrod leaf miner beetles (both adults and larvae).

Herbivory on Stiff goldenrod leaf

Herbivory on Stiff goldenrod leaf © Emily S. Damstra

The holes in the leaf are from the feeding adults, while the curled and browned tip is the classic sign of the larvae feeding. One can even see a row of dark eggs near the curled-over tip of the leaf, from which the larvae hatched and burrowed into the leaf to dine, grow, and pupate. Being host to this and other native insects is the reason that stiff goldenrod (and other goldenrod species) is a valuable plant to have around; it’s an important part of the food web.

Stiff goldenrod artwork – graphite

Last fall, those hole-riddled leaves inspired me to create this graphite drawing:

Stiff goldenrod leaves

Drawing of Stiff goldenrod leaves, mined © Emily S. Damstra

That is a lot of holes! However, it’s not the most I’ve seen in a Stiff goldenrod leaf in my yard.

Stiff goldenrod artwork – colored pencils

Finally, the gorgeous autumn colors of the Stiff goldenrod leaves compelled me to dust off my colored pencils and draw one last fall:

Stiff goldenrod leaf in autumn

Drawing of a Stiff goldenrod leaf in autumn © Emily S. Damstra

All three pieces of stiff goldenrod artwork are available in the new Nature Art section of my website, with free shipping to most addresses in the USA and Canada.