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Discover Nature: Goldenrod Blooms

A cluster of bright yellow goldenrod flowers on tall green talks against a shaded woodland backdrop.
Jim Rathert
A cluster of goldenrod flowers blooms bright yellow against the shaded woodland backdrop. Watch for the late-summer show of these Missouri-native wildflowers which provide an important nectar source for many beneficial insects. September, 1998

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, ranging from 2–7 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.