Plant ID forum: Mystery plant in southern North Carolina!

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Hickory, North Carolina
McKencheese
May 31, 2018 1:09 PM CST
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Hi! This was found on the edge of a forested area in Shelby, North Carolina. There's this shorter plant/part of the plant with alternate, lanceolate leaves and then the taller (almost 3ft maybe?) plant/plant part that I've been told flowers yellow. Any idea what this could be?

The professor who pointed it out to me is not a botanist by any means and needs it identified for research purposes. He also didn't give me the chance to really look at the whole plant up close. D: Sorry for the lack of information!

Thank you!!
Name: John
Scott County, KY (Zone 5b)
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ViburnumValley
May 31, 2018 5:29 PM CST
It is very likely that you are looking at a species of Goldenrod - Solidago sp. This is a common genus of native herbaceous flowers (wildflowers) in North America - there are many, and you should look up which species are common in that area of the country. They have yellow flowers at the top of tall stalks (on the larger growing species) which bloom in late summer or fall.

The dry gray taller plant part is the leftover stem from last year's plants. The bits at the top are where the flowers/seeds were.

This is typically a colonizing species, creating new stems from runners/stolons under the soil surface. If you have access to this site again, pull up one of the stems and see if it has larger white offshoots (stolons) protruding from the root mass. This is a good way to differentiate some of these herbaceous species which (to me) are hard to tell apart when not blooming.
John

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