It’s that time of the year again when folks start confusing ragweed and goldenrod plants. It always upsets me because goldenrod is my favorite late summer, early fall bloomer and has a lot of medicinal value. First off, so more folks don’t get confused, here is goldenrod:

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Beautiful isn’t it? It’s bright yellow flowers are probably the most noticeable feature of the plant. Here’s another photo:

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Goldenrod comes in many shapes and sizes depending upon the species, but all of them have great medicinal value.

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Goldenrod is one of the best topical anti inflammatories out there as well as helping treat other skin issues such as rashes, bug bites, psoriasis, eczema, bruises, wounds, etc. It can also be taken internally in several different preparations to help with urinary tract issues, colds, congestion, and diabetes. It’s also a favorite for many different important pollinators, and guess what? The pollen of the goldenrod is generally too heavy and sticky to fly out in the air so it’s not going to set off your allergies.

This is ragweed:

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There are several different species, the one above is Ambrosia psilostachya, this one is Ambrosia artemisiifolia:

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And another photo:

The most common features with the ragweeds are the leaves and the flowers which aren’t anywhere near the bright yellow color of the goldenrods. The flowers also form out of these little capsules along a central stalk.

Ragweed is generally considered an invasive and a particularly nasty one, especially for those folks who have problems with hayfever. It’s important to know how to tell the difference between these two plants. Keeping around the useful goldenrod will make a lot of bees, butterflies, and wandering herbalists very happy.