Goldenrod in our woods?


We all like wildflowers. And when we think of wildflowers, we usually think of spring. But there are many kinds of wildflowers that grow their vegetation all season in preparation for putting out fall blossoms. And goldenrod is one of those late summer and fall wildflowers we see around us. Well, actually there are a number of different kinds of goldenrod.

Goldenrods grow in fields, right? Well, not necessarily. There are some species that grow in the woods. And there is seaside goldenrod, and alpine goldenrod, which is rare in New York State with only 13 small populations surviving in the High Peaks of the Adirondacks. Walking in our Finger Lakes woods this time of year, you may find zigzag goldenrod or blue-stemmed goldenrod.

A bee visits zigzag goldenrod, Solidago flexicaulis, in September along a woodland trail in Buttermilk Falls State Park in Ithaca, N.Y. The stem tends to zigzag between the leaves.

Don’t worry. They won’t make you sneeze. If you suffer from pollen allergies this time of year, ragweed could be the cause, as it is wind pollinated. As this picture shows, goldenrods are pollinated by bees. Some wasps, flies, and butterflies may visit the flowers as well. Zigzag goldenrod is one of many fall wildflowers.