Goldenrod & Ragweed



Looking at these, it is obvious that goldenrod (left) and ragweed (right) do not look much alike…so why are people confusing one with the other?

They both bloom in late summer in Indiana; however, goldenrod’s spikes of bright yellow flowers are showy and attract butterflies and bees. Ragweed’s spikes of small, insignificant flowers produce vast amounts of pollen which causes hay fever sufferers distress for weeks and weeks. When people start sneezing, though, they often see the goldenrod and don’t notice the ragweed.

There are nearly 50 different “ragweeds” in the species Ambrosia. The two most common are “Giant Ragweed” and “Common Ragweed” (pictured above). Both have lobed or palmate leaves. By removing any plants you find in your yard, you will be reducing the allergens in your vicinity.

There are also many varieties of “goldenrod” in the species Solidago. Their leaves are often pointed and are not lobed. A number of cultivars of Solidago are available; they tend to be much less aggressive than the species and are usually shorter as well. Goldenrod plants thrive in a sunny location and will tolerate dry soil. Their August and September flowers provide needed pollen for bees and butterflies as the summer ends.