Notes from the Farm on Goldenrod

Bee and Goldenrod
Bee gathering goldenrod pollen.

Lynne: This afternoon at the farm, I looked to the north at the fields of wild grasses and was surprised by a mass of yellow. The goldenrod is in bloom. When goldenrod blooms all the insects know that frost is not far behind and all the bees and butterflies and insects can be found with their snouts buried in the pollen.

Since all those creatures were busy with the goldenrod, I thought it would be a good time to get some of those interesting closeup photographs of tiny creatures. I rode out in the Mule (machine type Kawasaki not 4 legged type animal) and stopped near the edge and put my finger to the shutter release. There were so many insects on the goldenrod that I wanted a picture of them all, but these two pictures with the bees show the rich heavy pollen and the bees’ determination to gather it even with a nosey photographer and her camera too close for comfort.

I sneezed for a while afterwards and I blamed the goldenrod, but I found this website, The Great Plains Nature Center, and learned a great deal of information about the flora and fauana of prairies. Goldenrod is not the culprit of fall allergies. Its pollen is thick and sticky to attach itself to the insects that pollinate it. Ragweed is the culprit because it pollinates with the wind by releasing millions of grains of pollen into the air and into your nose. Ragweed is green and fades into the late summer foilage, but goldenrod stands proud and yellow. Guess who gets the blame for allergies.

Next time you see a field of blooming goldenrod, take the time to thank the land owner who is willing to allow weeds to grow. Weeds are only plants that humans have not found a way to make money from, but to the insects and birds those same weeds are their super Walmart and discount shopping mall all rolled into one.

Bee and Goldenrod
Bee gathering goldenrod pollen.

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