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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Bright yellow goldenrod grows in thick, graceful clusters here, there and everywhere

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Above / The open fields along the .89-mile path at May Watts Park are golden as September comes to an end and goldenrod are in bloom. (PN Photo, Sept. 28, 2023)

Goldenrod is more plentiful than ever growing among the wild flowers in local parks and along roadsides this season.

Goldenrod belongs to the Asteraceae family, the large plant family that also includes dandelions, daisies, thistles, artichokes and sunflowers. 

According to our trusted World Book Encyclopedia, goldenrod is sometimes mistaken for ragweed, the hay fever and other allergy-causing wild flower that blossoms the same time as goldenrod, often in the same location. The pollen from goldenrod is too moist and too sticky to float, so it’s not airborne. In fact, harvesting clusters of goldenrod for indoor use is OK. Many interior designers are known to dry goldenrod for use in dried flower arrangements. Florists use fresh cuts to add golden color to seasonal bouquets.

About 100 species of goldenrod are native to North America. Since they flower late in the summer, they’re an important source of both nectar and pollen especially for butterflies and bees.

Fields of goldenrod at May Watts Park also are filled with different varieties of bees, large and small. (PN Photo, Sept. 28, 2023)
Though fewer monarch butterflies were spotted when milkweed was in bloom earlier this summer at May Watts Park, the distinctive orange and black butterflies flit among the goldenrod in early autumn breeding grounds as they prepare to migrate soon to Mexico. (PN Photo, Sept. 28, 2023)

Nectar is most plentiful in years when there is abundant moisture before bloom time, and when bloom time remains warm and sunny. 

Did you know these facts about goldenrod?

  • American inventor Thomas A. Edison made tires for his Model T Ford (given to him by his friend Henry Ford) using rubber from the goldenrod plant. Yet, after developing the method for extracting natural rubber from goldenrod, the process proved to be too expensive for commercial use. Edison is far better known for his contributions in fields such as electric power generation, sound recording, motion pictures, as well as improving the telegraph and telephone. He lived from Feb. 11, 1847, to Oct. 18, 1931.
  • Goldenrod is the state flower of Alabama, Kentucky and Nebraska. Some folks have suggested the brilliant yellow flower be named the national flower of the U.S.
  • Twenty-five species of goldenrod grow in Indiana, including one of the rarest plants on earth, “Short’s Goldenrod” (Solidago shortii), formerly thought to be extinct.
  • One goldenrod (Solidago bicolor) is white in color.
  • Goldenrod tea has many medicinal uses, including as one of the most effective treatments for Urinary Tract infections. In fact, its scientific name “Solidago” means to make whole or heal. What’s more, a number of cultures including Native American, Chinese, Egyptian and European have used concoctions of goldenrod to treat everything from arthritis to kidney stones.
  • Additional searches online revealed that goldenrod tea is generally well tolerated. That said, individuals with medical conditions, such as kidney disease or certain heart conditions, as well as women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, should not take the herb.
Find a shoreline of goldenrod mixed with thistle near the purple martin bird house at Lake Osborne, located on Aurora Avenue, just west of the Naperville Public Safety Campus. (PN Photo, Sept. 23, 2023)

Meanwhile, discover bright beauty of goldenrod along the highways, in local parks and across the prairies this season. Enjoy the great outdoors! 

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.
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