In August goldenrod fills the fields surrounding our house. It is more than time to get the fields mowed, but for the moment I am enjoying the sunniness of the various types of goldenrod. Therefore, I was taken aback by someone who told me I did not have fields of goldenrod, but with a glare, told me I had fields of ragweed.
I am more than willing to doubt myself, so I did not protest. However, it seemed unlikely. How could Heath be filled with fields of ragweed and not have a good portion of the populace spending two or three months in misery? In fact it only took a quick look through my old copy of Peterson’s Guide to Wildflowers to determine that whatever I have it is not ragweed. Common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, has bisected artemesia-like foliage which is nothing like the foliage on the goldenrods in my field. Rough stemmed goldenrod, Solidago rugosa, is the most common goldenrod in the field. It has hairy stems and toothed, feather-veined foliage.
At first I thought this was sweet goldenrod, but now I don’t think so. It doesn’t have the anise-like odor of the crushed leaves of Solidago odora. Perhaps it is the slender fragrant goldenrod, with only one nerve (parallel vein) on each narrow, grassy leaf. No fragrance I can detect however.
There are 20 varieties of goldenrod in the guidebook. I give up trying to ID mine, but I am happy to know I can enjoy them all, guilt free.