Friday, September 27, 2013

Is Goldenrod Making Me Sneeze?

Is Goldenrod responsible for fall allergies? Most likely Goldenrod is blamed for allergies triggered by ragweed blooms. Goldenrod is highly visible in the landscape just when the hardly noticed ragweed Ambrosia artemesifolia commences bloom.

Goldenrod Solidago spp.

A stand of Ragweed. All those little spikes are blooms and seeds.

Ragweed flowers up close, so tiny and full of pollen

Ragweed close up. Tiny, tiny blooms with very small pollen grains.
Goldenrod has large, heavy sticky pollen grains.

When I first came to south Georgia more than fifty years ago, I asked about this plant, also with finely cut leaves and was told that it was Ragweed. It didn't look like any ragweed I knew. 
Later I learned it is Bidens bipinnata Spanish Needles. 

Seeds of Spanish Needles are annoying when the needle-like seeds get in the dog's coat, but Bidens pinnata is a nectar source for pollinators and food for critters like Bobwhite Quail. 

I flushed up a covey of Bobwhite Quail when I was out taking these pics. I got too excited to get a single photo, even when the Mama Quail was crying and flailing around in the grass to distract me from the brood. 

Goldenrod, one of many species of Solidago. It isn't Ragweed. It probably does not cause your sniffles.
You could be allergic to it, likely a contact dermatitis rather than a respiratory reaction. 

2 comments:

  1. I think may people wrongly accuse the golden rod for their allergies which is unfortunate because it is a lovely plant. We had large stands of ragweed last year but nothing this year, thank goodness. As to the bidens. A friend asked me to identify a pretty white flowered plant in her garden. It turned out to be bidens. I even saved some of the seeds.The seed are really interesting to look at. They have a tiny hook at the end by which they attach themselves to all and everything. How lucky you are to see Bobwhites. We used to hear them here and I once saw a whole brood run by. Too many houses now. Sad.

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  2. I agree with rock rose ...it just looks like it could make you sneeze....

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I look forward to comments and questions and lively discussion of gardening and related ideas.



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