There has been much discussion about Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) in recent posts in the plant world. It's a misunderstood species and is commonly mistaken for being the dispersent of pollen that causes fall allergies to spike, however this is the result of ragweed blooming during this period of time.
Canada Goldenrod has been found to be the highest provider of nectar in the late season, producing the highest sugar content in honey production. One of several reasons it is a valuable resource to have around. It's bloom time is during the late season when most insects are looking for late season nectar to get them through the long cold winter ahead.
Although it does have aggressive habits, you'll find as you look at local populations that it does live in communities with other forbs without issue. We find that areas that lack specific diversity may be overcome over a period of time, however by finding the species that live in these communities will help you adapt the diversity you need to those areas.
I am currently studying several areas that have diversity and others that are predominantly Canada Goldenrod. Over time I will track to see if the diversified area remains over a 10 year period and grows in diversity and will also examine the dominated areas to see if over time the Goldenrod will fizzle out and leave room for new diversity to settle in.
To simply remove a beneficial native plant such as this without doing a field study to better understand it's habits is absurd. We do the work to get the necessary answers so the rest of the world has the knowedge to keep these beautiful plants growing in their natural space.
It's easy to label a plant as problematic, it's entirely a different story to prove it without doing the research. That's where I come in. We'll get the answers and provide the information so we can move forward with successful restorations with less human intervention.
From an ecological standpoint, destroying nature is never a great option. Working with what already exists in an area is always a winning combination.
Current plant species found living in a community with Canada Goldenrod and holding diversity are:
Common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca)
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Woodland Sunflower (Helianthus divaricatus)
Big Bluestem (Andropogon gerardii)
Indian Grass (Sorghastrum nutans)
Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum)
Wild bergamot (Monarda fistulosa)
Sundial Lupine (Lupinus perennis)
Stinging Nettle (Urtica dioica)
Smooth Blue Aster (Symphyotrichum laeve)
New England Aster (Symphyotrichum nova-angliae)
Prairie Phlox (Phlox pilosa)
Pasture Thistle (Cirsium discolor)
Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis)
Compass plant (Silphium laciniatum)
Wild Geranium (Geranium maculatum)
Written by: Matthew Swank, Owner, Ecologist, Biologist, Lupine Gardens, LLC