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Goldenrod is common name for certain related plants of the composite family. The Canada goldenrod is really “Solidago canadensis”. They are typical autumn flowers of the United States that grow in a great variety of habitats: woods, meadows, hills, and rocky ground. For many years goldenrod was considered a major cause of hay fever, but experiments with goldenrod pollen have indicated that it is virtually harmless. It is so heavy that certain types of bugs actually have to lift it out. It is the state flower of Kentucky and Nebraska.

Goldenrods are perennial herbs with wand like stems and stalk-less leaves. They usually grow to a height of 1.2 m (4 ft), but environmental conditions and species variations give them a range of 30 cm to 2 m (1 to 7 ft). Their yellow flowers are in graceful clusters. The genus goldenrods contain about 100 species, most of which are North American in origin. The Canada goldenrod, one of the commonest species, is of average height and has large panicles of small yellow flowers. The smaller sweet goldenrod has anise-scented leaves used to make herb tea. The wreath goldenrod, a low-growing species, is found in shady places. The November goldenrod is the tallest and bears large hairy panicles of flowers. Only one goldenrod species, the European goldenrod, is native to Europe. Several species of goldenrod that have white ray flowers are commonly called silverrod.

Goldenrods make up the genus Solidago of the family Compositae. The Canada goldenrod is classified as Solidago canadensis, the sweet goldenrod as Solidago odora, the wreath goldenrod as Solidago caesia, and the November goldenrod as Solidago serotina. The European goldenrod is classified as Solidago virgaurea and the silverrod as Solidago bicolor.

Goldenrods attracted short-lived commercial attention when Thomas Edison found that certain species contain latex. Some species (sometimes called dyer's-weed) have yielded a dye, and the leaves of many species have long been used for medicinal preparations and teas.
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