The joys of goldenrod

Honeybees on goldenrod
Honeybees on goldenrod

To most Americans, goldenrod is a weed.

To Europeans, however, goldenrod is a much-prized plant that gardeners go out of their way to cultivate.

To many people in ancient times and a growing number in the 21st century, goldenrod is a medicinal herb that has many uses.

To honeybees, goldenrod is a major source of nectar and pollen in the fall and a source of much-needed winter stores.

And to East Tennesseans this year (the folks in my area), goldenrod is an abundant, showy yellow flower that is filling up our fields, roadside areas and pastures. And our bees are taking to it in droves.

The bees will take both pollen and nectar from goldenrod, and they make a distinctive honey from it. Some beekeepers have harvested this honey, and with its abundance this year, beekeepers in this area might be tempted to do just that. The wiser course for beekeepers might be to let the bees have what they make and to save themselves from some of the efforts of winter feeding.

Goldenrod, in addition to its medicinal uses, is also thought to have some magical powers. Some believe it has the power to bring good luck. The bees who find a good patch of goldenrod probably consider themselves pretty luck.

One of the myths about goldenrod is that it causes allergic reactions, but that’s probably not the case. Those reactions are more likely due to goldenrod’s companion ragweed, which blooms at the same time.

(More pictures below.)

I walked down the road from our house the other day to a field that had a lot of goldenrod to see if the honeybees were there, and I was delighted to find them happily working the beautiful yellow blooms. They were joined by wasps, wild bees and bumblebees, all of whom were creating an audible buzz.

Here are some of the pictures I took:




Key words: bees, beekeeping, fall flowering, goldenrod, goldenrod honey, goldenrod for medicinal purposes, goldenrod as a herb, pollen and nectar from goldenrod


One thought on “The joys of goldenrod

  1. Yes – Just walking into the bee yard in goldenrod time- – the scent is a treasure- an welcoming smell from the bees making one look forward to the buttery taste of the cut comb -my most special honey of all-just spreading some on toast in the winter takes me back- Joe

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