Kindling Neighborly Connections between People and Nature.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Goldenrod Connections (plus a fun family activity!)

Last week I went for a walk at the fields behind Animal Care Sanctuary in Bradford County, PA. It’s probably not much different from a field somewhere near you. One of the things I noticed was that the field was full of goldenrod plants that were just about ready to bloom. At that time the field was mostly green with just a little yellow. Now just a week later it’s full of bright yellow goldenrod flowers in full bloom! One of the cool things about goldenrod is that it’s abundant in many places and it holds great value for our native wildlife. One can easily spend a whole day noting the connections that so many different kinds of wildlife have with each other because of goldenrod and just barely scratch the surface! Goldenrod connections are a special thing; and that’s why I want to invite you and your friends and/or family to do this fun Goldenrod Connections activity.

First, a couple fun facts about goldenrod.

1) Nobody is allergic to goldenrod. This is because the pollen of goldenrod is too heavy to be disbursed by wind. Ragwort plants are blooming at the same time of year as goldenrod plants and ragweed pollen does get disbursed by wind. Many people are allergic to ragweed.

2) There are over 100 species of goldenrod in North America and upwards of 30 species of goldenrod in Pennsylvania!

3) Sometimes goldenrod plants don’t get the credit they deserve as native plants. Goldenrods hold value for a great variety of wildlife including ambush bugs (depicted on right), goldenrod gall flies, goldenrod crab spiders, multiple species of bee, rabbits and other field dwelling mammals, and a number of species of birds including goldfinches, chickadees, and downy woodpeckers.

Ready for some fun?

Go and locate a field of goldenrod. Look and listen at the edge of it. Can you see rabbits, deer, or other mammals? Can you hear or see birds like goldfinches, chickadees, or downy woodpeckers?

Look closely at a single goldenrod plant. How many bugs can you count on it? How many different kinds of insects and spiders can you see on that single goldenrod plant?

 

Now take a step back and imagine how many insects and spiders are in the whole field of goldenrod! Wow!

Goldenrod fields that are left to grow tall all Summer long and are even left standing into the winter have great value for many of our wild neighbors.


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