In Defense of Goldenrod

What a sad case. Poor goldenrod is merely trying to make the world a more beautiful place, and feed a few lucky butterflies and bees. Suddenly a case of mistaken identity has this good plant on the defensive…and seemingly losing ground!
This is Goldenrod.
It all started when someone got the sniffles. It wasn’t a cold, it was hayfever. The name alone is a misnomer: there is no hay in the neighborhood, nor was there a fever…only seasonal allergies! The suffering victim looked out the window, trying to catch a glimpse of the perpetrator and saw goldenrod in its full glory. We all know the danger of assumption.
This is ragweed.
Not knowing the identity of goldenrod, our victim visited an allergist (most definitely NOT a horticulturist!) only to be told that the problematic plant is ragweed. Upon returning home, the victim went to the garage, gassed up the string trimmer and proceeded to dispatch all of the goldenrod in the neighborhood while cursing ragweed. There are no winners in this tragic tale.
This is Ragweed.
Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) and ragweed (Ambrosia spp.) should no longer be confused. While both genera are in the aster family, goldenrod has a showy bright yellow flower and ragweed has a creamy green colored flower that is very much muted in comparison. While the sizes of some species of goldenrod and ragweed can be similar, the foliage and forms of the plants are dissimilar. In short, they don’t look alike and the only way they can be confused is based on the assumption that it’s the yellow thing that’s making us sneeze.

The Prudent Garden
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