Sunday, August 15, 2010

Native Plants of Franklin

Greetings Franklin! Were any of you able to identify last week's mystery plant?

This is a closeup of goldenrod, which is in bloom now in fields everywhere. There are many kinds of goldenrod, or Solidago L., and they are difficult to tell apart, but all of them are native to North America.

Goldenrod has a reputation for causing allergies. However, this is unfair and incorrect. The real culprit for sneezing right now is ragweed, which is also in bloom. Goldenrod has heavy pollen grans that fall quickly to the ground. The plant relies on insects to carry the pollen from one flower to another. Ragweed, on the other hand, has lightweight pollen which is small enough to float around on the wind.

Goldenrod is perennial that grows in dramatic clusters. It attracts many insects. If you aren't a fan of insects in your yard, consider them to be bird food. All birds, especially baby birds, require insects in their diet.

And here is next week's puzzler, being visited by a hummingbird:

Hint: it's another common flower that is in bloom and feeding hummingbirds right now. Post your answers in the comments section, and have fun!

Franklin, MA

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