This year has been a super year for Golden Rod in Central Eastern Indiana. The bloom began just prior to the beginning of September about the same time we began getting some much needed rains. I took pictures on 8/30 that show it beginning. I would estimate the bloom has reached its peak by now, but it will continue until there is a really good widespread frost.
All of the hives have been working it. How do I know? because it smells like dirty socks around all of the hives. This was another “problem that wasn’t really a problem”, from my first year of beekeeping. That first fall I thought I had some type of Foul-brood disease, because the hives stunk so badly. I called a mentor who had a good laugh over it and said, “they are just working Golden Rod”.
Golden Rod is native to North America and isn’t actually any one particular plant. Golden Rod(s) refer a Genus of perennials, Solidago that contains about 100 species of flowering plants. Unfortunately it is seen as a weed here, because it isn’t corn or soy-beans. It’s what I consider the last shot at a nectar source in my area, and a GREAT WEED to have around.
Interesting things about Golden Rod:
- Parts of some goldenrods can be edible when cooked.
- Goldenrods can be used for decoration and making tea.
- Goldenrods are, in some places, held as a sign of good luck or good fortune.
- They are considered weeds by many in North America but they are prized as garden plants in Europe.
- Goldenrods are attractive sources of nectar for bees, flies, wasps, and butterflies.
- Honey from goldenrods often is dark and strong due to admixtures of other nectars. However when there is a strong honey flow, a light (often water white), spicy-tasting honey is produced.
- While the bees are ripening the honey produced from goldenrods it has a rank odor and taste, but finished honey is much milder.
- Inventor Thomas Edison experimented with goldenrod to produce rubber, which it contains naturally. His experiments produced a 12-foot-tall (3.7 m) plant that yielded as much as 12 percent rubber.
- The tires on the Model T given to Thomas Edison by his friend Henry Ford were made from goldenrod.
- The rubber is only contained in the leaves, not the stems or blooms.
- Typical rubber content of the leaves is 7 percent.
- Solidago virgaurea is used in a traditional kidney tonic by practitioners of herbal medicine to counter inflammation and irritation caused of bacterial infections or kidney stones.
- Goldenrod has also been used as part of a tincture to aid in cleansing of the kidney or bladder during a healing fast, in conjunction with potassium broth and specific juices.
- Native Americans chewed the leaves to relieve sore throats and chewed the roots to relieve toothaches.
- The goldenrod is the state flower of of Kentucky and Nebraska.
- It used to be the state flower of Alabama, but was later rejected in favour of another flower.
- Goldenrod was recently named the state wildflower for South Carolina.
- The Sweet Goldenrod (Solidago odora) is the state herb of Delaware.
- In Midwestern states in the mid-twentieth century it was said that when the goldenrod bloomed, it would soon be time to go back to school—the blossoms appeared in mid- to late August, shortly before the traditional start of school on the day after Labor Day.
All of the bullet points came from wikipedia. There is some more information there about Golden Rods if you are interested.
Questions / Comments?