From Academic Kids
Inflorescences of the Rough-stemmed Goldenrod
The goldenrod is a flowering plant in the Family Asteraceae. About 100 species make up the genus Solidago, most being found in North America, and a few from Europe. Many species are difficult to distinguish. Probably due to their bright yellow flower heads blooming around the same time as ragweed, the goldenrod is often unfairly blamed for causing hay fever in humans. In reality, goldenrod pollen is too heavy to be blown far from the flowers.
Goldenrods can be used for decoration and making tea. Goldenrods are, in some places, held as a sign of good luck or good fortune; but they are considered weeds by some. The flowers of goldenrod are eaten by the larvae of Lepidoptera species including Wormwood Pug, Golden-rod Pug, The V-Pug and Common Pug (which also feeds on the leaves).
The goldenrod is the state flower of the U.S. states of Kentucky (adopted March 16, 1926) and Nebraska (adopted April 4, 1895). It used to be the state flower of Alabama, being adopted as such on September 6, 1927, but was later rejected in favour of the camellia. Goldenrod was recently named the state wildflower for South Carolina.
British gardeners adopted goldenrod long before Americans. Goldenrod only began to gain some acceptance in American gardening (other than wildflower gardening) during the 1980s. A hybrid with aster, known as x Solidaster is less unruly, with pale yellow flowers, equally suitable for dried arrangements.
Solidago canadensis was introduced as a garden plant in Central Europe, and is now common in the wild. In Germany, it is considered an invasive species that displaces native vegetation from its natural habitat.
Inventor Thomas Edison experimented with goldenrod to produce rubber, which it contains naturally. Edison created a fertilization and cultivation process to maximize the rubber content in each plant. His experiments produced a 12 foot tall plant that yielded as much as 12 percent rubber. The rubber produced through Edison's process was resilient and long lasting. The tires on the Model T given to him by his friend Henry Ford were made from goldenrod. Examples of the rubber can still be found in his laboratory, elastic and rot free after more than 50 years. However, even though Edison turned his research over to the U.S. government a year before his death, goldenrod rubber never went beyond the experimental stage.
- Goldenrod identification: http://www.ontariowildflower.com/goldenrods.htm
- Goldenrods as state flowers: http://www.geobop.com/Symbols/plants/flowers/goldenrods/de:Goldruten