Canada Goldenrod, Solidago canadensis

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Goldenrod (General)

Goldenrod species belong to the Aster family (Asteraceae) and bloom in late summer or early fall.  Goldenrod’s can be distinguished from other wildflowers by their plume-like clusters of small, yellow flowers.  However, differentiating between goldenrod species can be difficult.  Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis), Stiff Goldenrod (S. rigida), Missouri Goldenrod (S. missouriensis), Gray Goldenrod (S. nemoralis), and Showy Goldenrod (S. speciosa) are among the many goldenrod species that can be found in the Arboretum.

It is a common misconception that goldenrod pollen is responsible for fall allergies.  The real culprit behind these allergies is pollen from ragweed (Ambrosia sp).  Ragweed’s lightweight pollen is dispersed by the wind and causes irritation and hay fever for many people in the fall.  In contrast, pollen from goldenrod species is heavy and sticky. Nevertheless, goldenrod is blamed because it often grows alongside ragweed and goldenrod flowers are more noticeable.


Martha Barrett
05 September 2011