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I am highly allergic to pollen and every fall my allergies go crazy. I always thought I was allergic to Golden Rod, but my neighbor says I'm probably allergic to ragweed. Are they different?


Seasonal Alergies Every year in late August through October, hay fever suferers everywhere have sneezing attacks caused by pollen from Ragweed. Many people often confuse Ragweed and Golden Rod and blame both for their allergic reactions. Ragweed is the culprit and not Goldenrod. Even though they both bloom at roughly the same time, they are completely diferent plants and look quite diferent. To start, Golden Rod is a perennial and Ragweed is an annual. Their stems and leaves are dramatically diferent- Golden Rod has a single stem with some branches at the top, whereas Ragweed has many branches from the bottom of the plant all the way to the top. Goldenrod has single leaves and Ragweed has lobed or dissected leaves. Golden Rod flwers are bright yellow and beautiful and Ragweed flwers are boring and non-descript (see pictures in this article). The biggest diference between the two and most important to allergy suferers is the way they pollinate. Golden Rod is colorful and attractive and has heavy, sticky pollen, which is well adapted to insect pollinators, whereas Ragweed has light, wind-blown pollen. In fact, Ragweed pollen can travel hundreds of miles in the air.

Golden Rod is a wonderful native plant that has several dozen species and is not responsible for any seasonal allergies. If you have Ragweed on your property and sufer from it, remove it, but plant and enjoy the beautiful Goldenrod in your gardens.

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About Linda Lillie

Linda K. Lillie is the President of Sprigs & Twigs, Inc, the premier landscape design and maintenance, tree care, lawn care, stonework, and carpentry service provider in southeastern Connecticut since 1997. She is a graduate of Connecticut College in Botany, a Connecticut Master Gardener and a national award winning landscape designer for her landscape design and landscape installation work.


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