Among the many varieties of goldenrod, bog goldenrod stands out with its erect, narrow form and reddish stems. It requires full sun and prefers wet, acidic soils, although it will adapt to average soils. The height—generally two to five feet--varies depending upon conditions. It’s easy to identify because, unlike most goldenrods, the small, yellow flower heads remain in tight clumps along the top-half of the stems, giving each stem a wand-like appearance.
Goldenrods are extremely important late-season pollinator plants. Many specialized bees, which make up a third of all of our bees, have developed relationships with only one or two plants. Goldenrod supports more than 35 species of specialized bees. It also hosts 122 species of lepidoptera larvae, produces copious nectar and pollen for honey bees and other pollinators, and provides hollow stems for bees and other insects to inhabit through the winter.
Native habitats include marshes and wetlands, wet meadows, bogs, and shores of rivers and lakes. This plant will thrive in boggy patches, along streams and ponds, in water gardens, and in native and pollinator gardens. In sunny borders, it mingles beautifully with purple coneflower and garden phlox (paniculata).
Grows 2-5’ tall and 2-4’ wide.
Does best in full sun.
Prefers moist or wet acidic soils but adapts to average soils.
1/4”-long flowers with 1-8 rays (petals) and tubular disk flowers in the center bloom from August-September in panicles angled against the stems.
Green leaves are narrow and elongated--up to 9” long at the base and 1-1/2” wide--with smooth surfaces and toothless or barely toothless edges. Simple stems are erect, smooth and hairless, often deep red in color.
Host plant for generalist Lepidoptera and many specialized moths, including brown-hooded owlet and asteroid paint. Specialized bees include mining, polyester, and long-horned. Butterflies, solitary wasps, fireflies, and soldier beetles visit goldenrods, and songbirds eat the seeds.
Medicinal, Edible, and Other Uses:
Several animal and test tube studies suggest goldenrod may help reduce inflammation, relieve muscle spasms, fight infections, and lower blood pressure. It may also act as a diuretic, and Europeans use it to treat urinary tract inflammation and to prevent or treat kidney stones.
The flowers are used to make a warm yellow dye.
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