September 3, 2014

It’s nearly fall, and the goldenrod is blooming. It feels like we get to this point faster and faster every year.

Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) gets a bad rap this time of year because so many people blame it for their allergies. But guess what—it isn’t the culprit! If you tend to get sneezy around the time that you see goldenrod blooming, it’s more likely that you are reacting to something like ragweed (Ambrosia spp.). Goldenrod pollen is relatively heavy and tends to drop to the ground instead of flying around; it’s more apt to be transported by insects.

Please Don't Pull the Goldenrod! - Photo by Dawn Combs (HobbyFarms.com)

Here at Mockingbird Meadows, we watch for goldenrod because it typically signals that our beekeeping year is coming to an end. The beautiful goldenrod is an important nectar and pollen source for our bees. The more we have, the better off they are. But did you know that there are benefits hidden in this plant for people, as well?

Expert Healer
The leaves and flowers of this weed are both used for their medicinal compounds. Not only can its light anise flavor improve the flavor of a less tasty herbal blend, goldenrod shines in the urinary tract. It is astringent, diaphoretic and diuretic, so it tends to help in the maintenance of water balance in the body. Goldenrod is really good for urinary tract infections and kidney stones, but I especially like it for incontinence. Whether the loss of bladder control is due to fast growth in a child or to emotional pressure in an adult, adding goldenrod to your tea can be very beneficial.

In the digestive system this sunny, yellow-flowered plant can be used to settle the stomach or stop diarrhea. It can also be used for fevers or to help relieve the congestion of cold or flu.

Please Don't Pull the Goldenrod! - Photo by Dawn Combs (HobbyFarms.com)

The blooms beautiful yellow color translates right through to your cup of tea. It seems as though it might also be able to lift the spirits, though that isn’t supported anywhere but in my imagination. What we do know is that the flower essence helps us to find our inner strength of conviction. It helps us to be true to ourselves.

Do you have goldenrod that is insinuating itself into your landscape regardless of your best efforts to remove it? Stop fighting it! Let it have a small patch of ground to live. If you’re pressured by what others may think if you leave a weed to grow, perhaps goldenrod is trying to tell you not to worry about things like that but to be true to your own beliefs.

Garden Golden Child
When we provide a haven for this beautiful weed to grow we benefit the bees, but also an untold number of butterflies and mantids. The American Painted Lady, the American Snout, the Red Admiral and the Clouded and Common Sulphur are just a few of the butterflies that depend on this plant. It’s a specialist in disturbed soil, so it also helps us to prevent erosion.

This fall, stay your hand. Please don’t pull the goldenrod! They are important to so many levels of garden health. Instead, pull up a chair and sit down to watch the beautiful display of winged visitors as you sip a sunny, yellow cup of goldenrod tea.

Get more tips on gardening for bees and other beneficial insects:

« More of the Prescription Gardener »


Filtered Under Crops, Herbs

Next Up