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Ragweed: The Culprit Behind "Goldenrod Allergy Season"

Goldenrod is given a bad rap for causing seasonal allergies, but is this beautiful native plant truly

responsible for the crimes for which it is condemned?

Two hands one holding a bundle of ragweed flowers and one holding a bundle of goldenrod flowers

Is it possible to be allergic to goldenrod? Certainly!

A field of bright yellow Goldenrod flowers with a blue sky and white clouds in the background
Field of Goldenrod

But! As an insect-pollinated plant, goldenrod’s pollen grains are too big and heavy to travel by wind.

You would have to put your face right against the plant to inhale any allergens.

An image of ragweed flowers and the pollen plume that surrounds it
Ragweed Pollen

Ragweed, on the other hand, has tiny pollen grains that are produced in massive quantities to

travel by wind.

You could be miles from the nearest ragweed plant and still inhale its pollen!

Goldenrod and ragweed share a seasonal cycle, producing flowers and pollen at similar times of

the year, but in reality, ragweed pollen is the true culprit for most allergies.

Ragweed on the left and Goldenrod on the right. Comparison of plants

We always hear "Goldenrod Allergy Season" but in reality it should be known as

"Ragweed Allergy Season"!!

A bee gathering pollen on bright yellow goldenrod flowers
Bee on Goldenrod

Goldenrod is an excellent source of food for insects and birds.

It grows prolifically, and can

quickly get out of control if left to its own devices, but managed properly, this plant can be an excellent addition to your property and provide beautiful foliage in a time of year that many

plants are losing their color.

two images showing the difference between ragweed and goldenrod
Ragweed Vs. Goldenrod

"The goldenrod is yellow, The corn is turning brown, The trees in apple orchards With fruit are bending down."

- Helen Hunt Jackson

Next time your watery eyes and sneezes turn your mind to ripping out that beautiful goldenrod in the back of your yard... look instead for the pale green flower spikes of ragweed!

- Haley Holley, Wild Heritage Gardens, Ltd.

All Images found on Google

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