And The Winner Is….
Congratulations to the winner: Solidago has been named the 2017 Notable Native Herb by the Herb Society of America. We won’t be hearing any impressive acceptance speeches from the winner, so let me do the honors:
‘I would just like to thank the academy, well actually, the Herb Society of America, for this incredible honor. I am truly speechless’
Or, if John Muir were still among us (and boy, do I wish he was) we’d use his own words:
The fragrance, color, and form of the whole spiritual expression of Goldenrod are hopeful and strength giving beyond any others I know. A single spike is sufficient to heal unbelief and melancholy
And we thought solidago (goldenrod) was just a roadside weed!
Au contraire dear readers ~ let me finish this accolade with a few observations of my own.
First, this native is truly a native plant. American born and bred and includes 77 species that can be found in every state in the Union, as well as Puerto Rico. As the summer winds down, look anywhere and if you see yellow flowers bending on graceful stalks, it’s most likely one of those many species. It grows in forests, fields, orchards, roadsides, compost heaps as well as between cracks in some city sidewalks. It’s been described as ‘golden glory’ and makes an important fall flower in your own perennial bed.
According to the experts at the Missouri Botanical Garden, the genus name comes from the Latin words Solidus (meaning whole) and Ago (means to make) which really just sums up the fact that this notable herb has vast healing properties.
Solidago, Beautiful & Edible
This is an edible, and the flowers can be used as garnishes or in salads. Flowers and leaves make a tea, whether using fresh or dried. The leaves alone can be cooked like spinach or added to soups, stews or casseroles.
In the garden, this plant makes a wonderful addition to your end of summer, fall garden with its plume shaped sprays of small but bright yellow flowers, and it is a perfect filler for any arrangement. Did I mention that it is extremely easy to grow, and is deer resistant and has very few pest issues, if any. Bees and butterflies adore it!
Much maligned the source of all allergies known to man, I’m here to say that this is malarky. Blame the real culprit, Ragweed, with tiny airborne pollen which is the source of the problem. Solidago has large-grained and sticky pollen that is picked up by pollinators, not the wind.
Notable Native Herb, Solidago
So, in honor of this native that has been described as: ‘reliable’, ‘rugged’, ‘outstanding’, ‘hardy’ to name a few, we decided to find a species that we liked, and are excited to introduce Solidago rigida this spring. Also known as Stiff Goldenrod, It’s one of the tallest, and is considered a MONARCH BUTTERFLY favorite, along with Asclepias Tuberosa, Butterfly Milkweed. It is a hardy plant that thrives in most soils, and its sturdy stems work as a stable perch songbirds that feed on late season seedheads.