Thursday, October 5, 2017

Fields of Gold

Take a ride in the countryside anywhere but in those areas where every plant has been eliminated to make way for pavement or crops and you will see some fields of gold –

That’s the gold of goldenrod, a group of many species: Newcomb’s Wildflower Guide lists 30 species; Peterson’s A Field Guide to Wildflowers adds one for a total of 31 species; Britton and Brown’s An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States and Canada increases the number to 62 and Gray’s Manual of Botany tops the list with 69 species.

Whatever the actual number of species it’s a confusing group, but one that brightens late summer and early fall days. However, one member of the genus isn’t gold at all; it’s silver-rod with white flowers –

And not all goldenrods prefer to grow in the sunlight; some, like this blue-stemmed goldenrod, are woodland plants –

But the vast majority of goldenrods are plants of open fields –

In those fields the flowers attract a host of insects; butterflies –

Dun Skipper

Great Spangled Fritillary

And beetles –

Goldenrod Soldier Beetle

Unidentified Beetle

Locust Borer
 Wasps and bees –


Tri-colored Bumblebee
Northern Paper Wasp

And flies and moths -
Syrphid Fly
Warners Metarranthis
 The goldenrods unjustly stand accused of causing hay fever in allergy sufferers. But their heavy pollen doesn’t carry far in the breeze and they rely on insects for pollination. The real culprits responsible for hay fever are the ragweeds which bloom at the same time, in the same habitats and have light wind-borne pollen.

So the next time you pass a field of gold, admire the view –

And take a look at the insects on the flowers, for soon, as colder weather arrives, they will be gone .


The Furry Gnome said...

Great pictures of all the bugs! That must have taken some time - I've tried. All the Goldenrods are over here now. They bloom in August, and this year I made a determined effort to identify some. I think I got at least three or four of the species here.

Rambling Woods said...

Thank you for the comment on my blog about my grandson Woody. The move to overturn the Endangered Species Regulations put me over the edge. I stayed away from politics on my blog for 10 years. Sadly it is hard to ignore it now... I wanted to say that I have not seen your blog before and how I wish I had found it sooner. I have been turning my gardens into native plant gardening (less front lawn) for pollinators and wildlife and I am planting some blue-stem goldenrod to join the showy goldenrod I have. I look forward to reading your posts and learning more. It is a great joy of mine to be able to get out and find a plant or critter, take a photo and learn more about it...Michelle...

Magdeli Valdés said...

Una colorida visión regalas aquí
que belleza de tomas...en la albor de los insectos
tan extraños y necesarios para la naturaleza

hermosa flor amarilla , la vara de oro , por mi país (Chile)es muy difícil de verla.

Rambling Woods said...

Thank you for linking into Nature is years old and very small with so many nature memes being out there..Michelle

eileeninmd said...

Hello, the goldenrod is beautiful. Awesome shots of the skipper and butterflies. Love the insects and bees. Love the fields of yellow! Thank you so much for linking up and sharing your post. Happy Saturday, enjoy your day and weekend!

A Colorful World said...

I LOVE goldenrod! Gorgeous photos of the many blooms and the wonderful insects who also enjoy it.

Lea said...

Wonderful fields of Goldenrod, and marvelous insect photos, too!
Have a great week-end!

Jacqueline Donnelly said...

Thanks for putting in a good word (or many!) for our glorious goldenrods! Too many folks still malign it as a cause of their hayfever. Gorgeous photos, of both flora and fauna. Thanks for this lovely post.

Willard said...

Exceptional photos and informative post.