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Goldenrod



Goldenrod photoThe goldenrod is a flowering plant in the Family Asteraceae.

About 80 perennial species make up the genus Solidago, most being found in the meadows and pastures, along roads, ditches and waste areas in North America, and a few from Europe that were introduced some 250 years ago.

Many species are difficult to distinguish. Probably due to their bright, golden yellow flower heads blooming in late summer, the goldenrod is often unfairly blamed for causing hay fever in humans. The pollen causing this allergy problems, is mainly produced by Giant Ragweed (Ambrosia trifida), blooming at the same time as the goldenrods. Actually, goldenrod pollen is too heavy and sticky to be blown far from the flowers. Furthermore, goldenrods are pollinated mainly by insects.

Goldenrods are easily recognized by their golden inflorescence with hundreds of small capitula, but some are spike-like and other have auxiliary racemes.

They have slender stems, usually hairless but S. canadensis shows hairs on the upper stem. They can grow to a length between 60 cm and 1.5 m.

Their alternate leaves are linear to lanceolate. Their margins are usually finely to sharply serrated.

Propagation is by wind-disseminated seed or by underground rhizomes. They form patches, that are actually vegetative clones of a single plant.

The flowers of goldenrod are eaten by the larvae of Lepidoptera species including Wormwood Pug, Golden-rod Pug, The V-Pug and Common Pug (which also feeds on the leaves). The whole life cycle of the goldenrod gall fly (Eurosta solidaginis) is associated with goldenrods, living but two weeks outside their host plant.

Goldenrods can be used for decoration and making tea. Goldenrods are, in some places, held as a sign of good luck or good fortune; but they are considered weeds by some. The goldenrod is the state flower of the U.S. states of Kentucky (adopted March 16, 1926) and Nebraska (adopted April 4, 1895). It used to be the state flower of Alabama, being adopted as such on September 6, 1927, but was later rejected in favour of the camellia. Goldenrod was recently named the state wildflower for South Carolina.

Garden use of Goldenrod

British gardeners adopted goldenrod long before Americans. Goldenrod only began to gain some acceptance in American gardening (other than wildflower gardening) during the 1980s. A hybrid with aster, known as x Solidaster is less unruly, with pale yellow flowers, equally suitable for dried arrangements.

Solidago canadensis was introduced as a garden plant in Central Europe, and is now common in the wild. In Germany, it is considered an invasive species that displaces native vegetation from its natural habitat.

Industrial use

Inventor Thomas Edison experimented with goldenrod to produce rubber, which it contains naturally. Edison created a fertilization and cultivation process to maximize the rubber content in each plant. His experiments produced a 12 foot tall plant that yielded as much as 12 percent rubber. The rubber produced through Edison's process was resilient and long lasting. The tires on the Model T given to him by his friend Henry Ford were made from goldenrod. Examples of the rubber can still be found in his laboratory, elastic and rot free after more than 50 years. However, even though Edison turned his research over to the U.S. government a year before his death, goldenrod rubber never went beyond the experimental stage.

Species

* Solidago albopilosa E.L. Braun : Whitehair Goldenrod
* Solidago altiplanities C.& J. Taylor : High Plains Goldenrod
* Solidago arguta Ait. : Atlantic Goldenrod
o Solidago arguta. var. arguta : Atlantic Goldenrod
o Solidago arguta var. boottii (Hook.) Palmer & Steyermark : Boott's Goldenrod
o Solidago arguta var. caroliniana Gray : Atlantic Goldenrod
o Solidago arguta var. harrisii (Steele) Cronq. : Harris' Goldenrod
o Solidago arguta var. neurolepis (Fern.) Steyermark : Atlantic Goldenrod
* Solidago auriculata Shuttlw. ex Blake : Eared Goldenrod
* Solidago bicolor L. : White Goldenrod
* Solidago brachyphylla Chapman : Dixie Goldenrod
* Solidago buckleyi Torr. & Gray : Buckley's Goldenrod (Conservation status: Vulnerable)
* Solidago caesia L. : Wreath Goldenrod
o Solidago caesia var. caesia : Wreath Goldenrod
o Solidago caesia var. curtisii (Torr. & Gray) Wood : Mountain Decumbent Goldenrod
* Solidago calcicola Fern. : Limestone Goldenrod
* Solidago californica Nutt. : California Goldenrod
* Solidago canadensis L. : Canada Goldenrod, Canadian Goldenrod
o Solidago canadensis var. canadensis : Canada Goldenrod
o Solidago canadensis var. gilvocanescens Rydb. : Shorthair Goldenrod
o Solidago canadensis var. hargeri Fern. : Harger's Goldenrod
o Solidago canadensis var. lepida (DC.) Cronq. : Canada Goldenrod
o Solidago canadensis var. salebrosa (Piper) M.E. Jones : Salebrosa Goldenrod
o Solidago canadensis var. scabra Torr. & Gray : Canada Goldenrod
* Solidago cutleri Fern. : Cutler's alpine Goldenrod
* Solidago deamii Fern. : Deam's Goldenrod
* Solidago discoidea Ell. : Rayless Mock Goldenrod
* Solidago fistulosa P. Mill. : Pinebarren Goldenrod
* Solidago flaccidifolia Small : Mountain Goldenrod
* Solidago flexicaulis L. : Zigzag Goldenrod
* Solidago gattingeri Chapman : Gattinger's Goldenrod
* Solidago gigantea Ait. : Giant Goldenrod
* Solidago glomerata Michx. : Clustered Goldenrod
* Solidago gracillima Torr. & Gray : Virginia Goldenrod
* Solidago guiradonis Gray : Guirado Goldenrod
* Solidago hispida Muhl. ex Willd. : Hairy Goldenrod
o Solidago hispida var. arnoglossa Fern. : Hairy Goldenrod
o Solidago hispida var. hispida : Hairy Goldenrod
o Solidago hispida var. lanata (Hook.) Fern. : Hairy Goldenrod
o Solidago hispida var. tonsa Fern. : Hairy Goldenrod
* Solidago juliae Nesom : Julia's Goldenrod
* Solidago juncea Ait. : Early Goldenrod
* Solidago latissimifolia P. Mill. : Elliott's Goldenrod
* Solidago leavenworthii Torr. & Gray : Leavenworth's Goldenrod
* Solidago ludoviciana (Gray) Small : Louisiana Goldenrod
* Solidago macrophylla Pursh : Largeleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago missouriensis Nutt. : Missouri Goldenrod
o Solidago missouriensis var. fasciculata Holz. : Missouri Goldenrod
o Solidago missouriensis var. missouriensis : Missouri Goldenrod
o Solidago missouriensis var. tenuissima (Woot. & Standl.) C.& J. Taylor : Missouri Goldenrod
o Solidago missouriensis Nutt. var. tolmieana (Gray) Cronq. : Tolmies' Goldenrod
* Solidago mollis Bartl. : Velvety Goldenrod
o Solidago mollis var. angustata Shinners : Velvety Goldenrod
o Solidago mollis var. mollis : Velvety Goldenrod
* Solidago multiradiata Ait. : Rocky Mountain Goldenrod, Alpine Goldenrod
o Solidago multiradiata var. arctica (DC.) Fern. : Arctic Goldenrod
o Solidago multiradiata var. multiradiata : Rocky Mountain Goldenrod
o Solidago multiradiata var. scopulorum Gray : Manyray Goldenrod
* Solidago nana Nutt. : Baby Goldenrod
* Solidago nemoralis Ait. : Gray Goldenrod, American Western Goldenrod
o Solidago nemoralis var. longipetiolata (Mackenzie & Bush) Palmer & Steyermark : Gray Goldenrod
o Solidago nemoralis var. nemoralis : Gray Goldenrod
* Solidago odora Ait. : Anise-scented Goldenrod, Sweet Goldenrod
o Solidago odora var. chapmanii (Gray) Cronq. : Chapman's Goldenrod
o Solidago odora var. odora : Anise-scented Goldenrod
* Solidago ouachitensis C.& J. Taylor : Ouachita Mountain Goldenrod
* Solidago patula Muhl. ex Willd. : Roundleaf Goldenrod
o Solidago patula var. patula : Roundleaf Goldenrod
o Solidago patula var. strictula Torr. & Gray : Roundleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago petiolaris Ait. : Downy Ragged Goldenrod
o Solidago petiolaris var. angusta (Torr. & Gray) Gray : Downy Ragged Goldenrod
o Solidago petiolaris var. petiolaris : Downy Ragged Goldenrod
* Solidago pinetorum Small : Small's Goldenrod
* Solidago plumosa Small : Plumed Goldenrod
* Solidago porteri Small : Porter's Goldenrod
* Solidago puberula Nutt. : Downy Goldenrod (Conservation status: Vulnerable)
o Solidago puberula var. puberula : Downy Goldenrod
o Solidago puberula var. pulverulenta (Nutt.) Chapman : Downy Goldenrod
* Solidago pulchra Small : Carolina Goldenrod
* Solidago radula Nutt. : Western Rough Goldenrod
o Solidago radula var. laeta (Greene) Fern. : Western Rough Goldenrod
o Solidago radula var. radula : Western Rough Goldenrod
o Solidago radula var. stenolepis Fern. : Western Rough Goldenrod
* Solidago roanensis Porter : Roan Mountain Goldenrod Conservation status: Endangered
* Solidago rugosa P. Mill. : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod, Rough-stemmed Goldenrod
* Solidago rugosa subsp. aspera (Ait.) Cronq. : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago rugosa subsp. rugosa : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
o
+ Solidago rugosa subsp. rugosa var. rugosa : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
+ Solidago rugosa subsp. rugosa var. sphagnophila Graves : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
+ Solidago rugosa subsp. rugosa var. villosa (Pursh) Fern. : Wrinkleleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago rupestris Raf. : Eock Goldenrod
* Solidago sciaphila Steele : Shadowy Goldenrod
* Solidago sempervirens L. : Seaside Goldenrod, Beach Goldenrod
o Solidago sempervirens var. mexicana (L.) Fern. : Seaside Goldenrod
o Solidago sempervirens var. sempervirens : Seaside Goldenrod
* Solidago shortii Torr. & Gray : Short's Goldenrod Conservation status: Endangered
* Solidago simplex Kunth : Mt. Albert Goldenrod
* Solidago simplex subsp. randii (Porter) Ringius : Rand's Goldenrod
o Solidago simplex subsp. randii var. gillmanii (Gray) Ringius : Rand's Goldenrod
+ Solidago simplex subsp. randii var. monticola (Porter) Ringius : Rand's Goldenrod
+ Solidago simplex subsp. randii var. ontarioensis (Ringius) Ringius : Ontario Goldenrod
+ Solidago simplex subsp. randii var. racemosa (Greene) Ringius : Rand's Goldenrod
+ Solidago simplex subsp. randii var. randii (Porter) Kartesz & Gandhi : Rand's Goldenrod
o Solidago simplex subsp. simplex : Mt. Albert Goldenrod
+ Solidago simplex subsp. simplex var. nana (Gray) Ringius : Dwarf Goldenrod
+ Solidago simplex subsp. simplex var. simplex : Mt. Albert Goldenrod
+ Solidago simplex subsp. simplex var. spathulata (DC.) Cronq. : Mt. Albert Goldenrod
* Solidago simulans Fern. : Fall Goldenrod
* Solidago speciosa Nutt. : Showy Goldenrod
o Solidago speciosa var. erecta (Pursh) MacM. : Showy Goldenrod
o Solidago speciosa var. jejunifolia (Steele) Cronq. : Showy Goldenrod
o Solidago speciosa var. pallida Porter :Showy Goldenrod
o Solidago speciosa var. rigidiuscula Torr. & Gray : Showy Goldenrod
o Solidago speciosa var. speciosa : Showy Goldenrod
* Solidago spectabilis (D.C. Eat.) Gray : Nevada Goldenrod
o Solidago spectabilis var. confinis (Gray) Cronq. : Nevada Goldenrod
o Solidago spectabilis var. spectabilis : Nevada Goldenrod
* Solidago sphacelata Raf. : Autumn Goldenrod
* Solidago spithamaea M.A. Curtis : Blue Ridge Goldenrod
* Solidago squarrosa Nutt. : Stout Goldenrod, Big Goldenrod
* Solidago stricta Ait. : Wand Goldenrod
* Solidago tortifolia Ell. : Twistleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago uliginosa Nutt. : Bog Goldenrod
o Solidago uliginosa var. levipes (Fern.) Fern. : Bog Goldenrod
o Solidago uliginosa var. linoides (Torr. & Gray) Fern. : Bog Goldenrod
o Solidago uliginosa var. terrae-novae (Torr. & Gray) Fern. : Bog Goldenrod
o Solidago uliginosa. var. uliginosa : Bog Goldenrod
* Solidago ulmifolia Muhl. ex Willd. : Elmleaf Goldenrod
o Solidago ulmifolia var. microphylla Gray : Elmleaf Goldenrod
o Solidago ulmifolia var. palmeri Cronq. : Palmer's Goldenrod
o Solidago ulmifolia var. ulmifolia : Elmleaf Goldenrod
* Solidago velutina DC. : Threenerve Goldenrod
* Solidago verna M.A. Curtis : Springflowering Goldenrod
* Solidago virgaurea : Goldenrod, Aaron’s Rod
* Solidago wrightii Gray : Wright's Goldenrod
o Solidago wrightii var. adenophora Blake : Wright's Goldenrod
o Solidago wrightii var. wrightii : Wright's Goldenrod

Natural hybrids

* Solidago × asperula Desf. (S. rugosa × S. sempervirens)
* Solidago × beaudryi Boivin (S. rugosa × S. uliginosa)
* Solidago × erskinei Boivin (S. canadensis × S. sempervirens)
* Solidago × ovata Friesner (S. sphacelata × S. ulmifolia)
* Solidago × ulmicaesia Friesner (S. caesia × S. ulmifolia)


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