Appalachia Appalachia Through My Eyes Wildflowers & Trees Of Appalachia

Appalachia Through My Eyes – Goldenrod

Is Goldenrod blooming around your house? It’s yellow color forms a sort of calling card as you drive along my driveway. I’ve always heard Goldenrod is an allergy sufferer’s worst nightmare. That sums up what I knew about the plant-it’s yellow and people say it gives them grief.

After googling around I discovered Goldenrod is KY’s state flower and that there are several different varieties of the plant. And while most of the folks in my area consider Goldenrod a weed-folks in England cultivate the plant for their flower gardens.

But the best thing I discovered by googling, was an old legend. Sharran Brown, a native of KY shared the story her Granny Ninna told her about Goldenrod:

“Two little girls were very close friends, one was golden blond and the other was dark haired with beautiful blue eyes. They were afraid that when they grew up they might be parted from each other, so they didn’t want to grow up. To solve their problem, the two little girls set out one day to visit the good witch who lived across the field far away. They came to the good witch after a long day of travel and told her of their wish to always be together. The little girls were never seen again, but whenever you see the golden yellow bloom of the goldenrod you will be sure to find the sweet blue aster always beside her.”

After reading the old legend, I ran out back to see if there were blue asters by my Goldenrod and just like Granny Ninna said, there was.



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  • Reply
    October 28, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    Well waddaya know. I haven’t heard that one. Now I must go look to see if there are blue asters beside my goldenrod!

  • Reply
    susie swanson
    October 4, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    Oh yes Golden Rod is a blooming, unfortunatley for allergy sufferers like me.. But it is beautiful.. at a distance.. Loved the story on it.

  • Reply
    Wind Dance
    October 3, 2012 at 3:53 pm

    Goldenrod was used for a host of medicinal purposes, and even it’s Latin name Solidago means to make whole. It is also important because bees harvest the nectar at a time of the year when there aren’t many flowers. In the 19th century the goldenrod was considered to be the national flower of the U.S.
    You can generally tell a plant that causes allergies because its pollen is carried on the wind, and the flowers tend to be smaller, sometimes virtually unnoticeable. Plants that are pollinated by insects have sticky pollen grains that attach to the bodies of their visitors. The blooms are larger and showier to attract the pollinators.

  • Reply
    October 3, 2012 at 9:12 am

    I had plans to dye a batch of yarn with goldenrod this year, and suddenly there is almost none blooming around the place! Maybe the goats ate it before it could bloom. Say, maybe they’ll produce bright yellow fiber this winter, all pre-dyed! 🙂
    Now I may have to get in the car and go looking for goldenrod…life is funny!

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    I love goldenrod…such a lovely flower. Haven’t seen any yet this year. It’s not as common out here as it is in many places. Lovely though and the bees so love it. The lavender wild asters are blooming here. A few of my calendula are still blooming, and a few of the queen anne’s lace haven’t totally curled up into their birds nests yet, and a few california poppies in my front bed…which really needs the dead for the season plants removed and readied up for winter. Perhaps this weekend I’ll get to it, perhaps not, have a seminar to go to on Saturday. Guess we’ll see how the energy and the weather hold out. LOL

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    I enjoyed the stories of the
    Goldenrod. And the partial poem
    by Miss Cindy made me think of
    our pear tree. I proped up limbs
    with 2 x 4’s and those things broke. Now the limbs are touching the ground, full of small pears.

  • Reply
    Sallie Covolo
    October 2, 2012 at 7:27 am

    What a lovely fairytale. Thanks for this story,Tipper.

  • Reply
    Sphdual Ed
    October 2, 2012 at 11:15 am

    Tipper-ken yu hep me hear. sum uv thez peeple are uzin werds I dawnt no. tuday I seen LOL an BTW an I didin git it. If thems Appalachian werds I dawnt noem. Im bac in skool now tu git mi .pdf degree! is that sum ferrin waya tawkin I kneed two lern.

  • Reply
    kay keen
    October 2, 2012 at 11:07 am

    my mother, said when the goldenrod blooms winter is just around the corner. but they are pretty, and make nice cut flowers. kay

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 11:04 am

    I have been sniffling and sneezing for a week now. The goldenrod is so beautiful I think it is worth it.

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 11:02 am

    Thanks Tipper, I always learn so much from your posts!
    I think the lovely purple plant usually paired with goldenrod around here is ironweed.
    I did a bit of research and discovered that the pretty daisy-like weeds that grow around here in the fall are white heath asters! My grandaughter Kate brought me a bunch Friday and they’re still fresh and lovely on my counter.
    Nice of nature to give us one last lovely show of blooms before the snow flies!

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    October 2, 2012 at 10:53 am

    I really hate to keep crowding the comment section….but I have a question for the girls…
    When I was a child, yep, playing with my little friend. We made all sorts of little suppers in our dishes for our doll guests..
    One of our favorites was to go to the nearest Ragweed and gather those fading knobby blooms…
    Did you ever put your hand at the end of the spikes and pull upward..the little drying pealike pieces will fall in your hands…We would make a large, (so to speak) toy aluminum pot of these baby peas for our supper…
    I was out by the chicken house yesterday and couldn’t resist putting my hands on the ragweed and pulling up a handful of little peas, and remembering the long ago days of playing house with my friends…
    Thanks Tipper, and Cindy..
    I remember that poem too..must’ve been a NC school thing…I couldn’t stand it until I looked it up…When I read it all, it came back from the corners of my mind like it was yesterday…The name of the poem…
    “September” by Helen Hunt Jackson…so wonderful, thanks for the nudge on this memory…

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 10:50 am

    I always see the two together also…it’s a cool story. I dislike goldenrod for allergy reasons but my bees like it and aster.
    I remember when we lived in Nashville, the lowes there sold goldenrod in their flower area…it cracked me up because it was only a weed as far as I ever knew…

  • Reply
    Gary Powell
    October 2, 2012 at 10:35 am

    State flower here in Kentucky. It is in full bloom on some of the neglected fields. I can see how some folks would cultivate it.

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 10:26 am

    Down here on the Texas gulf coast we are just starting to see that first blush of yellow on the goldenrods. I’ll have to see if the asters are right beside them.

  • Reply
    Bob Aufdemberge
    October 2, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Out here on the edge of the plains, the goldenrods are out in full bloom, and along with them the blue asters, and there are some white asters too.

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Interesting about England. The Goldenrod was the state flower of Alabama when I was a kid. The powers that be considered it a “weed” like you said and changed our state flower to that sterile, artificial looking, non-native camellia. I guess the Goldenrod was beneath our dignity. I wish they would change it back. There are a bunch of them right behind this house. They are not in full bloom yet. I think I have a picture from a couple of years back if I can find it. BTW, I like y’all’s music.

  • Reply
    Lonnie Dockery
    October 2, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Well, I’ll never look at Goldenrod the same–not without looking for asters! Miss Cindy’s poem is what I have always remembered.

  • Reply
    DeWayne Falls
    October 2, 2012 at 9:46 am

    Ed done messed up my comment. I was going to call it sniffleweed but he says “Not guilty.” But, I do have a question. That looks like a pickup truck in the picture. It looks blue, but did Aster make a pickup?

  • Reply
    Kimberly Burnette
    October 2, 2012 at 9:39 am

    I love goldenrod! It is also one of my favorite dye plants since it produces a gorgeous golden-yellow on wool. It is also a key dye when trying to get a good green. I like to dye with goldenrod first, then overdye with indigo. (yellow + blue = green)

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 9:38 am

    Goldenrod is certainly in abundance here in My Old Kentucky home.

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    October 2, 2012 at 9:33 am

    I’m sorry but I had to throw this
    If you don’t believe the story of the Goldenrod….just Aster!
    Sorry, couldn’t help it
    The “devil” made me do it!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 9:29 am


  • Reply
    Ron Banks
    October 2, 2012 at 9:21 am

    I use to help an aunt in-law gather Goldenrod so she could make an herbal tea from it. I don’t remember exactly what is was used for but I think it was for stomach problems and that she would swear by it. If you had an ailment or affliction she had a remedy for it. She was a true Appalachian woman who I admired tremendously. I always think of her when the Goldenrod blooms and what a treasure she was to the people who knew and loved her. R.I.P Punkin!

  • Reply
    Brian Blake
    October 2, 2012 at 9:12 am

    Creepy! There’s a haunting old Appalachian ballad called “The Witch Boy,” sung by Daniel Boone to the tune of “Bonny Barbra Allen.” A witch has turned a mountain boy into an eagle. He goes to the witch saying he loves a human girl.
    “Oh you can be a man, a man/ If Barbara she’ll not leave you./ If she be faithful fur a year, yore Eagle he will leave you./ Oh Barbara she had golden hair/ And her eyes were blue/ And she was faithful fur a year/ And ever after true.”

  • Reply
    B. ruth
    October 2, 2012 at 9:11 am

    Beautiful photo….I think that Goldenrod is the Fall example of Springs (golden bells) Forsythia. There seems to be a contest of yellows…I believe Goldenrod is winning…don’t you?
    When we were out gathering the “Scuppernongs” last Sunday afternoon, we passed a field, slightly on a hillside. It was a wash of yellow. Actually very breathtaking..not in an allergy sense either…By the time I yelled at the driver, grabbed my camera, we were too far down the Interstate to turn around…I am so glad that I have the picture in my minds eye…such a blessing it was…I must admit I didn’t see the blue aster. I wonder if it blended into green as we sped by…LOL I love Goldenrod, sneeze and all…Ragweed not so much..
    Thanks Tipper,
    I had a childhood girlfriend like the one in your poem..When she moved to South Carolina, we both thought we were going to die! She was disabled and my favorite friend of all time…Although she could not walk straight, due to her crippled legs, she would win everytime in a game of Jacks. One of my first (to do) things, was to learn to play Jacks as well as she could…never did, and never will…

  • Reply
    dolores barton
    October 2, 2012 at 8:40 am

    That was a very interesting legend. I will be heading out on my walk shortly – we have the Goldenrod; I am going to look for the Aster. Isn’t Mother Nature wonderful!

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 8:37 am

    Good Morning Tipper!
    Wonderful story. I have never heard it before. I love golden rod and find that a lot of the flowers we consider weeds delight many a gardener around the world. When I first moved here I discovered that we have the second most diverse, temperate zoned, plant ecology in the world. One man’s weed is another’s garden flower I guess. I love the golden rod with iron-weed best. BTW everyone thinks it is the goldenrod that sets off their allergies, but it is really the ragweed that is always hanging around nearby that is the evil plant! 😀

  • Reply
    Janet Smart
    October 2, 2012 at 8:19 am

    What a neat story. I had never heard of it. I’ll have to check, too. The golden rods are everywhere! They are beautiful.

  • Reply
    Ed Myers
    October 2, 2012 at 8:12 am

    Goldenrod as a sneeze weed is a country legend, brought about by its flowering in concert with ragweed. In fact, Goldenrod is pollinated by insects (unlike ragweed), so it does not throw off pollen and is thus not guilty as often charged.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    October 2, 2012 at 7:16 am

    This time of year my mother used to always quote a poem….”The Goldenrod is yellow, the leaves are turning brown, the trees in the apple orchard with fruit are bending down”….and that’s all I remember of it.
    I used to think, well, that’s nice. No more, I am now in the group who suffer when the goldenrod is yellow, like now!
    I always notice the goldenrod, how can you not notice it this time of year when it blankets the fields. I know frost will soon be with us and we’ll have to rake leaves.

  • Reply
    October 2, 2012 at 6:58 am

    It’s been a good year for Golden Rod around here. My honeybees are enjoying it. Packing it in for the winter.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    October 2, 2012 at 6:54 am

    I have always thought goldenrod was beautiful, love the story

  • Reply
    Gorges Smythe
    October 2, 2012 at 6:48 am

    I remember being delighted to see the prolific goldenrod back when I kept bees.

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