The small golden-yellow flowers of a very well-known North American plant species are now in bloom! The return of Early Goldenrod to High Park is exciting because it is yet another opportunity for us to see some of the many butterflies and bees of the season hovering over, around, or even on this sunny plant!
Early Goldenrod, and other species of Goldenrod sometimes get a bad reputation for causing a lot of allergies, however more often than not, Goldenrod is not to blame and is made guilty by association!
Growing at the same time, and sometimes in the same location as the Goldenrod, is Ragweed. This plant is the cause of much sneezing and wheezing in the late-summer, partly because of how it pollinates through the air, whereas Goldenrod has large pollen that is meant to be carried by pollinators.
With these two plant frequently being found next to each other, it is important to be able to notice some of the difference between them.
Starting with the leaves, Goldenrod has smooth, unlobed leaves, while ragweed leaves are smooth with deep lobes.
As for the stems, Ragweed has purple and green coloured stems that are hairy and branched, while goldenrod has a single green stem without branching.
There are also some notable differences between flowers! Goldenrod has flowers that are bright yellow and grow in large masses while resting on single stems. Ragweed flowers can be greenish-yellow and are in seemingly smaller formations on the branched stems.
Keep an eye out for blooming Early Goldenrod on your next High Park visit!
FUN FACT: Goldenrod is part of the Sunflower family