Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Kentucky's state flower

There are about 100 species of Solidago, Goldenrod, in North America, with 30 being native to the Bluegrass region. Most Goldenrod can mostly be found in the meadows and pastures, along roads, ditches and waste areas of Kentucky.

Because of its bright, golden yellow flower heads blooming in late summer, Goldenrod is often unfairly blamed for causing hay fever in humans. The pollen causing these allergy problems is mainly produced by Ragweed (Ambrosia sp.), blooming at the same time as the goldenrod. Ragweed is wind-pollinated; Goldenrod pollen is too heavy and sticky to be blown far from the flowers, and is thus mainly pollinated by insects. However, handling of Goldenrod and other flowers, however, can cause allergic reactions, leading some florists to change occupation.

Goldenrods are easily recognized by their golden flower heads with hundreds of small blossoms. They have slender stems, usually hairless and can grow to a length between 1 1/2 and 5 feet. The leaves are linear with margins that are finely to sharply serrated.
Propagation of Goldenrod is by seed or by underground rhizomes. The rhizomes form patches that are actually vegetative clones of a single plant and are recommended if you want a true clone of a specific variety. Goldenrod seeds can sometimes give you a different variety of plant because of cross-pollination.

Medicinal Uses: A specific variety, Solidago virgaurea, is used as a traditional kidney tonic. It is used by practitioners of herbal medicine as an agent to counter inflammation and irritation of the kidneys when bacterial infection or stones are present. Other Goldenrods have also been used as part of a tincture to aid in cleansing of the kidney/bladder during a healing fast, in conjunction with Potassium broth and specific juices.

**Trivia: Inventor Thomas Edison experimented with Goldenrod to produce rubber because of the naturally occurring rubber-properties.

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