Blame Walt Disney for goldenrod’s bad name. In the movie “Snow White and The Seven Dwarves,” Bashful shoves a vase of goldenrod into Sneezy’s face and claims it was the cause of his hay fever.
Many people still blame goldenrod for nasal and lung congestion. That “distinction” is reserved for ragweed, which blooms about the same time as goldenrod. The fact is that goldenrod pollen is too heavy to be carried by the wind or to float in the air.
Besides being mentioned in an animated movie, goldenrod (Solidago spp.), has spread across the continent from Canada to Mexico. It’s part of the Aster family—one of the largest plant groups in the world.
In late summer and fall, thousands of insect species, including many of the 4,000 species of native bees, rely on the plant for its high-protein pollen and abundance of vitamins. Moths and butterflies find the nectar of the plant very attractive. Monarchs especially need the nectar in the early fall for their long migration to their overwintering site in Mexico. Beneficial wasps, beetles, and a wide variety of other insects also rely on the plant. Since insects are an important part of birds’ diets, the pollen-rich insects provide nutrition for them as well. Birds also eat goldenrod seeds, which are nutritious.