Goldenrod: Weed, Herb or Wildflower?

Goldenrod is a favorite fall wildflower for many.
Goldenrod is a favorite fall wildflower for many. | Source

Early Fall is a time of transition in North Georgia. It is still mostly hot as the dickens during the day, but a cool breeze blows in occasionally for welcomed relief. Early mornings and evenings are nice and cool as the humidity during this time tends to be lower. It is a time for the softer colors of spring and summer to give way to new, vibrant autumn color.

Out in the fields and wastelands, at the edge of the forest and along roadsides, my favorite wildflower is at its peak. The goldenrod is like a wild golden-haired girl who wants to come home. Most think of her as a weed. Perhaps she has been grossly misunderstood.

Goldenrod

Goldenrod has run rampant through the fields for many years.
Goldenrod has run rampant through the fields for many years. | Source

Ragweed or Goldenrod

Along about the time goldenrod appears, her nasty cousin ragweed starts spreading her free-blowing pollen causing hay fever among the masses. Some tend to blame their problems on our golden girl when in fact, her pollen is too heavy to become airborne.

The lovely goldenrod has run rampant through the fields and mutated with other weeds or wildflowers to produce numerous species. These species are called invasive in some areas. So what? She's not the only one. Look at all the different false dandelions that exist all over the world today.

Natural Remedies

Although there are no high quality studies to prove so, goldenrod is thought to have health benefits in the following areas.

  • used topically as a wound healer
  • tuberculosis
  • liver enlargement
  • diabetes
  • hemmroids
  • internal bleeding
  • asthma
  • arthritis
  • mouth and throat inflammation

Goldenrod Herb

Many people consider goldenrod to be a health-healing herb. A few animal and test tube studies suggest that goldenrod may help with the following conditions:

  • reducing inflammation
  • relieving muscle spasms
  • fighting infections
  • lowering blood pressure

It has been proven that goldenrod has diuretic properties. Europeans have used it to treat UTIs and kidney stones for years.

Like dandelion, the parts of the plant above the ground can be used for making teas and tinctures. Unlike the dandelion, the roots are not consumed.Goldenrod supplements are available in capsule form. It is recommended that one seeks advice from a doctor or botanical medical expert (could be a pharmacist) before using dandelion supplements. Goldenrod can interact with other herbs and medicines.




Goldenrod provides a tiny ecosystem of insects and birds.
Goldenrod provides a tiny ecosystem of insects and birds. | Source

Goldenrod and the Food Web

Lots of different insects and their predators get free room and board with the goldenrod. Some of these insects lay eggs within her. As the eggs hatch, the goldenrod provides incubation for the larvae. A tiny ecosystem is formed that becomes a larger part of the food web.

How Goldenrod Benefits the Garden

Birds,bees, butterflies and many other insects visit the goldenrod, helping to spread her heavy pollen. If there are other flowering plants nearby, this animal life will visit them as well. In this way, our golden girl attracts pollinators to the garden.

Elm Branched Solidago rugosa Miller

The various shapes of goldenrod are used to classify the different species.
The various shapes of goldenrod are used to classify the different species. | Source

Goldenrod Flowers Identification

Our golden girl has cross-bred several times over to produce any number of a variety of species in any one local. Because they look so similar, these species have been difficult to isolate and identify. Scientists finally grouped them generally into categories according to shape.

The following chart highlights the general shapes, types, scientific names and brief discription.

Goldenrod Classified According to Shape

Shape
Type
Scientific Name
Description
(Plume-shaped)
Canada Goldenrod
Solidago canadenis
9 to 15 flower rays, flowers on upper part of stem
 
Gray Goldenrod
Solidage nemoralis
slender one-sided plumes, groups of flowers form a crest
 
Early Goldenrod
juncea
plume-like or elm-like shape, flowering branches curve downward
(Club-shaped)
Stout Goldenrod
Solidago squarrosa
10-16 flower rays, flowerhead is narrow
 
Bog Goldenrod
Solidago uliginosa Nuttall
long,broad cluster of flowers, likes moist woodlands
(Flat topped)
Grass-leaved Goldenrod
Solidago graminifolia & Euthamia graminifolia
flowers grow in clusters, grass-like leaves on stems
 
Houghton Goldenrod
Solidago houtonil
umbrella-shaped head that is flat-topped
 
Ohio Goldenrod
Solidago ohioenis
large umbrella-shaped head massive tiny yellow flowers
 
Uplands White Goldenrod
Solidago ptarmicoides
white flowers 1 cm wide 10-25 ray flowers per head
(Wand-shaped)
Erect Goldenrod
Solidago Erecta
long, slender stem
 
Downy Goldenrod
Solidago pubuula
tiny hairs on stems and leaves
 
Ontario Goldenrod
Solidago simplex
ray and disk florets, sticky flowers, found on shores of Lake Huron
 
Blue-stemmed Goldenrod
Solidago caesia
scattered clusters in leaf axile, smooth purplish stem
(Elm branched)
Rough-stemmed Goldenrod
Solidago rugosa Miller
scaly stems, elm-branched with clusters of flowers

Goldenrod in the Garden

Now that we know all the benefits of goldenrod, perhaps it is time to bring her in from the wilds and tame her for our gardens. Goldenrod will attract pollinators to our winter gardens of kale, lettuces and other greens.

Goldenrod is hardy growing in zones 2-8. they propagate by both the spreading of seeds and the spreading of underground rhizomes. A variety of goldenrod seeds are available for purchasing on-line to make growing goldenrod in the garden more convenient.

Plant seeds in flats in spring or summer. Make sure that they are exposed to plenty of sunlight. Goldenrod will look especially good growing alongside purple salvia and assorted asters.

The goldenrod's stiff stems make her a lovely addition to cut flower arrangements. These arrangements are sustainable, practical and inexpensive. They are great for all those fall events from luncheons to weddings.

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Comments 61 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

I don't think we have it here in Washington, or if we do I sure didn't know about it. Great article for a gardener like me; wonderful research and presentation of facts.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks Billybuc. There are 24 goldenrod species in Wisconsin. Unless you live out in the country you probably haven't noticed it


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

I'm not sure if it is goldenrod or ragweed but we have loads of it growing in the fields and alongside of roads here in Houston...especially in the country settings closer to where we live. I had no idea that it was used medicinally...but then so many plants have some purpose. Nice to know that it attracts many pollinators. Up, useful and interesting votes + will share.


The Dirt Farmer profile image

The Dirt Farmer 4 years ago from United States

Hooray for ragweed! So many "weeds" are really awesome plants to grow. Wonderful article. Voted up and awesome.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks for stopping by! My daughter lived in Houston for a bit. I hope it's goldenrod you are seeing and not ragweed. I just happened to think it was pretty and started researching. Finding out the medicinal uses surprised me as well!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

I am glad to hear you say that. Goldenrod is a pretty weed. And thanks for the vote up!


Angelo52 profile image

Angelo52 4 years ago from Central Florida

A very pretty plant that has been sent to the scrap heap along with many other wild flowers. These plants are needed by many other living beings and now it seems even us humans can benefit. How about that!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks for that insightful comment Angelo52!


quildon profile image

quildon 4 years ago from Florida

Lovely article. I remember the goldenrod from when I lived in North Georgia and you're right. She did get blamed for the pollen that covered our homes and cars a few years back. Thanks for enlightening us about that and her medicinal qualities.


Act 3 profile image

Act 3 4 years ago from Athens, GA

Nice write-up. Goldenrod has long been a favorite of many native plant lovers. It can be hard to find in the nursery trade but has slowly become more common.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks quildon and Act 3. So good to find other 'goldenrod supporters!"


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey

Thanks for highlighting helpful information on goldenrod and setting the rumors about her to rest!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

LOL, thanks for going along with my humanistic view of 'her' and thanks for stopping by!


Movie Master profile image

Movie Master 4 years ago from United Kingdom

I love the vivid, bold yellow of the Golden Rod, it's a fabulous colour - I can't resist taking photos of it!

I wasn't aware of it's health benefits and enjoyed reading the information.

Tthank you, voted up and shared.


Kris Heeter profile image

Kris Heeter 4 years ago from Indiana

Thanks for the interesting article. I think we have fields of it around here but I never know if it's goldenrod or ragweed.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks so much for stopping by, Movie Master and Kris. I am glad you found this interesting. I did not know about the goldenrod's health benefits until researching for an earlier Hub!


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

Oh I love goldenrod and had no idea I could eat it! I will sure be collecting it come next spring! Thank you.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Well don't eat it, Jackie. Look for capsules or tinctures. Love ya!


Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

Glimmer Twin Fan 4 years ago

Love goldenrod and am always amazed at how prolific it is up here in NW Pennsylvania. I am also amazed that they now sell it as a perennial at nurseries. It's a lot cheaper to swing by a country road and pull up a clump! Nice hub with lovely pics.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

I like your attitude Glimmer Twin Fan! Also, The golden rod seems to go to seed around the latter part of October. I ha ve been wondering if they couldn't just be planted as they are!


teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

Thank you for the information and description on this. Your chart is really helpful. Have heard of the benefits of goldenrod and will consider this next time I am out shopping for garden aids.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks for stopping by. I am glad you found the goldenrod info useful.


rajan jolly profile image

rajan jolly 4 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

Nice and useful read. I'm not aware it grows here. It sure has a lovely looking flower. nice to learn about the health benefits of golden rod and also that it helps out in pollination when planted in the garden,

A very interesting plant for sure, Rebecca.

voted up, useful & interesting.


ChristyWrites profile image

ChristyWrites 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

So much information here about goldenrod. It is a useful herb and you are right that there are benefits of planting it in your own garden. Vote up and sharing as well.


Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 4 years ago from The Beautiful South

Good thing I came back, huh? lol Ok, I won't eat it straight away but maybe I will look into some tea or something. Definitely will get my own plants, thanks!


whonunuwho profile image

whonunuwho 4 years ago from United States

Interesting hub, rebecca, thanks for sharing this enlightening information.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks Christy, Jackie and whonunuwho! Yes, Jackie thanks for reminding folks to be careful ingesting wild plants ..


unknown spy profile image

unknown spy 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

wow..now i really love this flowers! shared


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks for stopping by, unknown spy!


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 3 years ago from Peru, South America

Goldenrod is also very common in the Midwest where I grew up. I had no idea it had mutated and there are so many varieties! I've always loved how it paints the landscape yellow...but I have memories of my mother's hayfever in the fall when it bloomed! I've heard of taking goldenrod as a natural antibiotic. This article is well-written and provides a wealth of information on this plant. Thanks!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks, I am glad you liked my article on goldenrod. It is my favorite wildflower!


Suzie HQ profile image

Suzie HQ 3 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

Hi Rebecca,

Loved your introduction and the flow throughout this article was non stop engagement, What a really interesting wildflower this is! It made me wonder if it is goldenrod I see in masses here in the countryside where I live now and read your chart from start to finish seeing if I could identify it. There are masses of yellow "wildflowers" around us in our wild country garden so will have a closer look today! Thanks for a really well executed, written and researched article, loved it!

Up, Useful, Awesome, Interesting , Shared and Pinned!


cygnetbrown profile image

cygnetbrown 3 years ago from Alton, Missouri

I was introduced to the medicinal value of golden rod this fall! I used a salve made with it for treating chigger bites and it did an awesome job! I know that some people think that golden rod and rag weed are the same, and despite the fact that they often grow together, they are not the same! I love this plant!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Oh, thanks for letting me know. I just love goldenrod. It's so pretty!


cygnetbrown profile image

cygnetbrown 2 years ago from Alton, Missouri

This past summer a friend of mine introduced me to golden rod tincture which does wonders for fighting off nasal congestion from allergies. It really works for me!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

That's great!


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

Hi Rebecca, we don't have goldenrod here where I live in Australia, but I have heard of it, or 'her' I should say. You did a wonderful job of personifying this lovely wildflower as a girl. The flowers look a little like some of our wattle flowers. I enjoyed this informative hub. Thanks for sharing, now off to read your hub about rosemary (I do have that growing here).


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks! I loved writing it!


Suhail and my dog profile image

Suhail and my dog 2 years ago from Mississauga, ON

Goldenrods are K2's and my companions in late summer/early fall. Thank you for sharing an article on these plant species.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

You are welcome! Thanks for stopping by!


Suhail and my dog profile image

Suhail and my dog 2 years ago from Mississauga, ON

And I have lot of pictures of them. This year I will cover fall season wildflowers of southern Ontario and Western NY and one may be able to see K2 and I hiking through a meadowful of them :-)


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 years ago

Rebecca, this is awesome, voted that way. I don't remember my grandma using Goldenrod for anything and she was known to grow my herbs for every purpose you could think of. It grew everywhere in Alabama. I am happy to learn about it's benefits. Thank you.

Blessing.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks, Shyron! A southern gal?


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 2 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

My Dad always said weeds are just flowers where you don't want them. Goldenrod might be like Cudzu here in Georgia. It's pretty from a distance but not when it's in your yard!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

She's a "bad girl" but I still love her. She ain't leaving anytime soon, so I embrace her in the fall.


Au fait profile image

Au fait 2 years ago from North Texas

I always thought goldenrod was pretty when I was a child and my older sibs would then inform me they were just weeds, not even wildflowers. Enjoyed reading this and learning the good uses for goldenrod!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks, au fait. I see them in arrangements frequently.


AudreyHowitt profile image

AudreyHowitt 2 years ago from California

Very interesting! But Goldenrod just looks like an allergy waiting to happen, as beautiful as it is!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Goldenrod is not the cause of fall allergies...ragweed is. The plants are not the same.


Faith Reaper profile image

Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

Oh, I love Goldenrod, and never thought of it as a weed. It is so beautiful just as you have so beautifully written in your first paragraph here. I was totally unaware of its many benefits and will surely check into using it as you have indicated here. I love the color, and it would look so lovely in flowers arrangements, especially in the fall.

Up ++++ tweeting and pinning


DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Informative and so helpful. I like the way you added such good photos.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks! DDE.


PhoenixV profile image

PhoenixV 2 years ago from USA

I live in the Midwest and I think I have seen a lot of this but didn't realize what it was. I also did not realize all the health benefits of Goldenrod. Now I am going to pay closer attention to see if I can locate and identify it, thanks to your hub.


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks, Phoneix V...yeah, that's probably goldenrod!


esmonaco profile image

esmonaco 2 years ago from Lakewood New York

A very well presented and factual read, I've certainly learned a few things here. Thanks :)


Patsybell profile image

Patsybell 2 years ago from zone 6a, SEMO

OH Thank you. Great story, good research and I think you may actually change the minds of some folks who hate this herb. Voting up, U,B,I, Pin, tweet, share. Wonderful!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks, Patsy!!!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 2 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

I'm glad, and thank you for reading/commenting!


OhMe profile image

OhMe 2 years ago from Pendleton, SC

My husband and I have not been able to work in the yard at all and I was appalled to see that we hade Goldenrod blooming in the front yard amongst our flowers. I love Wildflowers but just can't appreciate the Goldenrod. I think I always think of it as the other "chigger weed".


Shyron E Shenko profile image

Shyron E Shenko 2 months ago

Rebecca, I am back to re-read

About the golden girl in all her glory

Growing tall, her blooms are slow

Not in any hurry

Never in the spring

But, in the fall

Without a worry

*

*

Blessings my friend


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 7 weeks ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA Author

Thanks! I'm so

glad you share my passion for the goldenrod!

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