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Sunday, August 12, 2012

Is it a Goldenrod or is it Ragweed?

During this time of year, the native yellow wildflower called Goldenrod is often confused with Ragweed and erroneously blamed for hay fever in humans.

Goldenrod, Solidago, is a native wildflower that has over 60 species. The pollen from these bright flowers are too sticky to become air borne and pollinated mainly by insects.  However, significant handling of these plants will shake loose the pollen causing allergic reactions.

Ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, is very commonly found in waste area spaces such as edges of roads.  There has at least 15 species.  Every plant has male and female flowers on the plant.  The male is the pollen producing flower that is on the tip of the stem.  The female flowers form at leaf bases or forks of upper stems.
Ragweed: Photo courtesy of Lou Ziska, ARS

A quick way to differentiate between Goldenrod and Ragweed are the leaves.  

Goldenrod flower and leaves

Ragweed leaves U.S. Department of Agriculture
Photo courtesy of Patrick J. Alexander

1 comment:

  1. The best information I've read about the difference between these two plants. Thank you!