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Discover Nature: Goldenrod Blooms

A bumble bee clings to a cluster of yellow goldenrod flowers atop a green stalk in a field in front of a blue-sky backdrop.
A bumble bee clings to a cluster of goldenrod flowers. Watch for the late-summer show of these Missouri-native wildflowers which provide an important nectar source for many beneficial insects.

This week on Discover Nature, take a moment to enjoy the last golden blooms of summer. 


On roadsides, streambanks, pastures, prairies, and planted flower beds, Missouri’s many goldenrod species are putting on a show. 


23 species of goldenrod (Solidago spp.) are native to Missouri with slender stems, usually about 3-4 feet tall, and golden clusters of flowers spiraling or alternating along upper branchlets. Each yellow flower is actually a tiny composite flowerhead, structurally similar to a daisy or a sunflower. 


Because they typically bloom late in the growing season, goldenrods provide a critical nectar source for many insects – for many, a final food source before freezing weather hits. 


Because they produce showy blooms about the same time as wind-pollinated ragweeds and pigweeds, goldenrods are often blamed for hay fever. However, goldenrods have sticky pollen carried by insects, and are not the culprits! 


American Indians used the plants medicinally and rubber can be made from the sap.  Many goldenrod species are grown as ornamentals and are available at plant nurseries. 


Learn more about Missouri’s many goldenrod species and their important connections to ecosystem functions with the Missouri Department of Conservation’s online field guide


Discover Nature is sponsored by the Missouri Department of Conservation. 


Kyle Felling was born in the rugged northwest Missouri hamlet of St. Joseph (where the Pony Express began and Jesse James ended). Inspired from a young age by the spirit of the early settlers who used St. Joseph as an embarkation point in their journey westward, Kyle developed the heart of an explorer and yearned to leave for adventures of his own. Perhaps as a result of attending John Glenn elementary school, young Kyle dreamed of becoming an astronaut, but was disheartened when someone told him that astronauts had to be good at math. He also considered being a tow truck driver, and like the heroes of his favorite childhood television shows (The A-Team and The Incredible Hulk) he saw himself traveling the country, helping people in trouble and getting into wacky adventures. He still harbors that dream.
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