Pages

Goldenrod is Not to Blame for your Allergies

This time of year, many of us are suffering from nasal allergies. The more time spent outdoors in Fall, the more congestion I have. I look around me, and everywhere I go, I see voluptuous, beautiful, and very bright yellow flower spikes. This is Goldenrod (Solidago.)
Goldenrod on Highway 29 in West Point, Georgia

To me, Goldenrod has always been too beautiful for me to suspect as the culprit for my Fall allergy flareups. For years I have brought in large bouquets to fill my house with the beauty of Fall. (My favorite time of the year, by the way.)

Most people do blame Goldenrod for their Fall allergies, because when they go outdoors and start sneezing, they look around and see Goldenrod everywhere. It's all over the side of the road and in almost every vacant lot around here.

But it is not Goldenrod that is to blame. You probably have not ever noticed the true culprit. Blooming at the very same time as Goldenrod is the insignificant looking Ragweed. I had to borrow this image, because I pull up every piece of Ragweed I see trying to grow in our garden.

Ragweed image borrowed from The Weed Library
Ragweed has very small greenish flowers that you would not notice, but they sneakily put out huge amounts of pollen that floats in the air and into your nose. Here lately, we've had lots of nice breezes, and that breeze is helping the Ragweed Pollen to travel for miles.

Goldenrod is not capable of causing allergies, because it produces no air-borne pollen. Goldenrod is pollinated by insects, and only wind-pollinated plants such as Ragweed can cause seasonal allergies. (Some other wind-pollinated allergy-causers are Oaks, Pines, and Grasses.)

Another piece of interesting information: All parts of the Goldenrod plant are edible. From the flowers all the way down to the stems, each part of this plant has value and importance. The Native Americans had many uses for Goldenrod. The flowers are a lovely addition to salads, both the flowers and the leaves can be used to make tea (it is said to be bitter), and the leaves can be cooked like spinach. I intend to try some today!

For more information, visit the Allergy/Hay Fever Information Center.