Lately our goldenrod has been covered with bees, busily working their way through the haze of yellow flowers. Goldenrod often gets a bad reputation, for its association with allergies like hayfever. In fact, goldenrod is often the scapegoat for the allergen that is usually the real problem - ragweed. They grow in similar places and bloom at the same time, so are often grouped together as problem plants. Ragweed's pollen is light and can easily travel by wind through the air, whereas goldenrod pollen is heavy and sticky and does not tend to fly as dust through the air.
There are many values to having goldenrod in the garden, and in some countries it is actually considered good fortune to have it growing nearby! Goldenrod is...
- a natural remedy for toothaches, digestive upset, wounds, kidney disorders, bleeding gums, and much more
- a great dye agent for naturally dying fabric or fibres
- a forage plant for birds and bees late into the fall
- excellent for attracting pollinators, bees, wasps and butterflies
Some books and references will even claim that goldenrod is the most important food for bees, as it provides food (pollen and nectar) late into the fall when few other flowering plants are still available, so bees can bulk up for the winter months. One author writes that his bees don't even produce any honey until the goldenrod season begins! The honey is said to be a light to amber colour, with a spicy taste.