Goldenrod

Solidago or Goldenrods are common wildflowers seen throughout North America. They are late bloomers, flowering in late Summer into the Fall. Because of their bloom time, Goldenrods are often blamed for pollen allergies. Ragweed, which blooms at the same time, is responsible for making you sneeze.

Most Goldenrods have long narrow leaves with vivid clusters of bright yellow or gold cascading flowers. Growing from two to six feet tall, they are an important wildlife plant. Bees, wasps, butterflies, moths, flies, and others use it for nectar and pollen. Many insects eat the leaves and stems, which in turn attract beneficial predatory insects.  It provides homes for small animals and birds and is frequented by the Eastern Goldfinch and hummingbirds.

Medicinal usage has ranged from anti-inflammatory, kidney stones, infections and fatigue to diuretic use. It was also used as a vulnerary herb (a plant used to promote the healing of wounds). Native Americans boiled leaves and used them topically to treat wounds and eczema.  In fact, its use as a wound healer accounts for the genus name, Solidago, which derives from the Latin solidare (meaning “to make whole” or “to heal”). There have been few studies in this country involving the medicinal properties of Goldenrod.

Native Americans also used Goldenrod to dye cotton, wool, linen, and silk. Many weavers today still use Goldenrod to dye yarn. Depending on how the flower head is prepared, it can produce a golden yellow or dark olive-green color.

Goldenrods tolerate poor soil, drought and are deer resistant.

Common Uses

  • Native plant gardens
  • Open woodland gardens
  • Borders
  • Wild gardens
  • Cottage gardens
  • Meadows or butterfly gardens
  • Flowerheads for fall flower arrangements