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solidago odora vs canadensis

Posted by hemnancy z8 PNW (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 1, 13 at 7:24

I want to grow a goldenrod that is useful, as in for a nice anise-flavored and medicinal tea. Plants for a Future rates them the same, but I'm wondering if someone has experience with both that would prefer one over the other for these uses.

S. odora seems only available as a plant, which is good in that I wouldn't have to struggle to raise little plants and wait a year to see them bloom, but S. canadensis is available as seeds, but then would not be blooming this year. It is also described by PFAF as having a wider range of medicinal uses and medium water requirements, while odora seems to make better-tasting tea and can do better on dry poor soils.

Has anyone grown both who would like to comment on them?

Here is a link that might be useful: PFAF


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

S. odora is a clumping form that is much better behaved in the garden. S. canadensis is an aggressive spreader (can send you plenty of rhizomes to get started) that makes most of the folks in the eastern US consider it a weed.

I have seen both of them growing in fields so I don't think water requirements is an issue for either.


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

Both grow wild at my place in heavy clay with no special water or needs. That said, the S. canadensis is far more enterprising and spreads wherever it likes while the S. odora stays to a single area/patch. If I personally was choosing between the two for garden behavior and herbal use, hands down I'd choose the S. odora. If you try the sweet goldenrod and it doesn't work out for you, you can always try the other species.

FataMorgana


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

Yeah, don't plant Canada goldenrod unless you want lots and lots of Canada goldenrod. I'd even choose grass-leaved goldenrod before S. canadensis, though it too can spread if it's happy.


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

My problem is that I have 2 acres, and parts can be mowed, but there are strips in front of the fence lines on adjoining cow pastures that have stumps or trees and cannot be mowed. These areas have been a constant battle with Himalayan and native blackberry vines, and various grasses and weeds. I'm tempted to get a very aggressive but useful plant like the Canadian goldenrod to attempt to take these areas away from the weeds. Perhaps the weeds would just continue to grow up through them so it wouldn't work? I have a certain amount of native Salal and Oregon Holly Grape in part of these areas and I could work more on transplanting the Salal, OHG is much harder. But it can't seem to totally suppress the berry vines, I have to keep cutting them out, and started painting the cut ends with stump killer.

I have eliminated weeds in some areas of the yard under trees by using Vinca major, and also have really cut down on weeds in my orchard by underplanting the trees with ground cover comfrey, which seems to suppress other weeds to a large extent. But the Goldenrod would get taller and perhaps shade out the berry vines better? Also, I am always trying to increase the diversity of my yard and provide more food and shelter for pollinators and predators, for which Goldenrod apparently is very good.

Perhaps the farmers on the other side of the fences would not be overjoyed to have goldenrods spread into their pastures. I've seen conflicting reports on whether cattle and deer will eat them, or be poisoned by them or fungi that grow on them. I'm really interested too in the medicinal uses of Canada Goldenrod, which seem to be a little more useful than S. odora, though it sounds like a more palatable tea plant.

Thanks for your help!

Nancy


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

The deer here don't eat goldenrod ever. I can't imagine they ever would there.

I personally leave the native Rubus (blackberry, rapsberry) varieties here unless they are directly in my way. The berries are nice for humans as well as animals, both are useful in an herbal sense, and the patches are habitat makers. Goldenrod will not out compete the Rubus, which can grow taller and shade the goldenrod - which the goldenrod wouldn't like.

FataMorgana


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

I have native blackcap raspberries that I leave to grow, and a few select areas of the small native blackberry ursinus, but they are capable of growing into monsters and taking over vast areas, they grow up into shrubs and trees and then cover them with vines, and in such situations have very few berries, if any, they fruit best when in full sun and up on a fence. They have vicious tiny thorns. Without control they would spread over all the unmowed areas of my yard. The Himalayan blackberries were brought over here by Luther Burbank and can grow 30' into trees, tip-root and spread like wildfire, and also grow from fallen seeds, have vicious thorns, can take over your land without intervention and make a 6-10' tall snarl of brambles that can hide abandoned cars, and while they do make a lot of berries, which we can pick anyways from vines that we didn't get to, are not worth all the trouble. We have had them get out of control in some areas and had to spend major effort to get rid of them. As it is we spend a lot of time every year trying to remove them from under other plantings that they grow up through, and we chip them. We get thorns in our fingers through our gloves, scratches, etc. I do tolerate the third (non-native) evergreen blackberry, which is not so aggressive and has better berries. I think densely covered rhizomatous growth might deter the blackberries....

But the goldenrod would be more to control the grasses which managed to go to seed when I had to be gone one month of June for the birth of 2 grandkids, and compounded a couple of other Junes by 2-3 weeks of vacation. I see photos on some wildflower blogs where they extol them for nectar and pollen sources for lots of insects.


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#1 for butterflies

The shrubs for wildlife thread on this forum has a link to Doug Tallamy's chart for biodiversity for butterflies, and goldenrod is #1 on that list. I guess I am just too interested in them to care if the Canadian goldenrods are invasive, on 2 country acres that is not necessarily bad, I say now, I don't know what I would say after they are here. Mowing would probably control them except in those beds where there is no mowing. I am presently buying 5 kinds of goldenrod cultivars (plants) that are not reputed to be invasive but only canadensis and odora are rated as well for tea and medicinal uses by PFAF. I'm also getting some seeds for nemoralis and possibly speciosa, considering the canadensis.

Here is a link that might be useful: Doug Tallamy's list


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

I would grow both of them! S. odora looks pretty (at least from pictures) maybe a bit more delicate than S. canadensis, and the fragrant foliage sounds nice. It sounds like S. canadensis could be a very useful plant for your property. On a small parcel maybe not so much. But it isn't SO aggressive that you can't control it by mowing.

Generally woody plants host more species of lepidoptera than the herbaceous plants, but according to Tallamy Solidago and Aster host the most species of all the perennials. Makes sense, they are very common genera, with quite a diversity of species, and our native insects have no doubt capitalized on that.


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

Both asters and goldenrod bloom at much the same time here - late summer (August) to fall. The bloom time can be quite long. And as far as wild native plants, there is little else blooming at that time in my region so it is not surprising at all that butterflies and other native pollinators would feed heavily from these plants.

FataMorgana


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

Fata, what Tallamy means by "hosting Lepidoptera" is that the foliage provides larval host food for the caterpillars of butterflies and moths. The caterpillars in turn provide food for birds and other species.

And yes, I think the flowers are very important food sources for the adults leps and other pollinators, especially late in the season.


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

Well, so I decided to buy the odora plant (Prairie Nursery) and just get the nemoralis seeds. It is somewhat aggressive but shorter than canadensis. It likes dry soil and can handle some woodland or open situations. I'm also getting plants of Fireworks, Laurin, Little Lemon, Golden Fleece, and Solar Cascade, (Forest Farm) which are mostly short to very short, and hopefully have the aggressiveness bred out of them, and I have seeds of Baby Gold that are purported to come true from seed but that remains to be seen. They have been planted for 10 days and aren't up yet, but are supposed to take longer. Some websites say the seeds need chilling and some don't. If I don't get germination soon I will try some chilling. So I hope I will enjoy the goldenrods and that the insects will like them, and the deer won't. Thanks for your help.


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

Terrene, the Tallamy link says "# of Lepidoptera species supported." I would assume the word "supported" as opposed to specifically using the word "hosted" does indeed include the plants that are nectar sources for adult butterflies which is what I was discussing. I do know that the goldenrod is a host for the gall fly but I personally have never seen goldenrod host any caterpillars and don't know if there are any it hosts -- I freely admit to being a plant nerd but I am not a "bug" expert at all and will defer to those that are. ;)

Hemnancy, since you seemed interested in Solidago "uses" and referenced PFAF a number of times (one of my favorite sites), you may like to check out the book Native American Ethnobotany by Daniel Moerman. It lists 19 different Solidago species used by various Native American peoples. By far not all uses listed were for "tea" as you originally talked about. The book covers the entire gamut of plant use - food, medicine, utilitarian, ceremonial, etc. The book is expensive but well worth it if you are interested in fostering useful native plants.

FataMorgana

The vacated goldenrod gall so visible in winter....


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

fatamorgana, I have heard Tallamy speak several times. What he means by "supported" is actually "hosted".

I had some green caterpillars on my S. canadensis this year - ate them right down to sticks. Then along came some Carolina wrens and ate most of them (it was outside my window).


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

I like GW. No matter how long you've been here, you learn stuff all the time. I've never seen goldenrod munched by anything and it is a very plentiful and common plant here. Perhaps we just don't have those butterflies/moths here or perhaps because the plant is so common, the cats and their signs are never obvious. Many thanks.

FataMorgana


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

And Esh has a keen eye, so when she posts info here, you can be sure she has observed it.

It is sad that golden rod is considered a weed by most gardeners here. I am growing some of the less common ones from seed and hope to get them started on my property...and photograph to show people how lovely they are.


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

Hey Fata you are definitely a plant maven! :)

And cool pictures of galls and the caterpillar. I haven't seen a lot of activity on S. canadensis, but perhaps I need to look closer. I'm growing several of the less common species from seed as well, some are much more ornamental than Canada, which grows everywhere around here. And I was excited to watch the Goldfinches munching on S. nemoralis seeds this fall, which was the first season they bloomed abundantly (about the 3rd year from seed).


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

I have Moerman, the information is good, I was looking at it again and S. speciosa is described as being used for hemorrhaging from the mouth after being wounded. Might be useful. ;-) But perhaps if a different goldenrod were available to that same tribe they would use it for the same purpose? My favorite herbal book,The Energetics of Western Herbs, by Peter Holmes seems to treat the different species as having similar effects. He says Solidago spp. are one of the few herbs that are trophorestorative for the kidneys. I was interested in some of the uses of canadensis but hope the other goldenrods have some of the same effects. I make salves, and they are apparently vulnerary, so may be a good addition. One of my favorite salves is comfrey, rose (Apothecary sport Rosa Mundi) and Rosemary, which has a wonderful fragrance. I have some native herbs still present from when this was a woods. But no goldenrods, in fact I am not aware of seeing any locally at all. People on the wildflower blogs rave about them for attracting pollinators.


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

Terrene, ....haha! "Maven"....*grin* I guess that sounds better than "nerd" - thanks! I must admit to subscribing to Thomas Jefferson's quote "but tho' an old man, I am but a young gardener" in regards to plant knowledge in general. There is always so much to learn that I'd never call myself a maven! ;)

Hemnancy, you may wish to check out the Eclectic texts available at Henriette's Herbal site - linked in below. The Eclectic herbalists used many native plants so there may be Solidago uses listed in there as well. Your rose salve sounds nice. I make both calendula and plantain salves for various skin needs. I just saw a recipe for a sore muscle cayenne salve the other day that I may try with surplus from the veggie garden this year.

FataMorgana

Here is a link that might be useful: Henriette's Herbal Classic Text


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

FataMorgana- I research various plants in my yard for salve use and other, I've seen the Henrietta site. Some plants I have used in salve include stinging nettle, ribwort plantain, Heal-All (Prunella), St. John's Wort, Rosemary, Akebia, Western Red Cedar, Lady's Mantle, Rose petals, Agrimony, Sage, Thyme, Calendula, and I nearly always put in some Comfrey. I only use around 3-8 kinds of herbs at a time of course. So I guess I would also be a nerd, or amateur herbalist. I've only had one batch that didn't seem to work well, it got kind of hard and crumbly. I don't know what ingredient caused that. I use a pint or quart canning jar filled full of herbs then filled with olive oil, and put it in a water bath in a crockpot on low. 8-12 hours later I strain and add beeswax to harden. I find the salves very useful and beneficial.

I also dry herbs for tea. I'm not very good at using herbs that require using the root as I hate to kill the plant, though it's possible to dig down on one side of a plant to chop off just a few roots, I've tried that with Comfrey.

Well, I'm looking forward to seeing all my new Goldenrods, hopefully the plants will be big enough to bloom this year? So far no germination on my Baby Gold seeds from ebay,:-( I'm excited to be adding another genus to my plants that sounds very useful.


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

Hey fatamorgana, I came across this article today and I thought you might like to read it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Flies from a goldenrod leaf


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

Very cool. Thanks much, esh!

FataMorgana


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

I'm wondering how you can try to grow prairie natives in the PNW. Your Solidago will never go dormant and I would think the winter rains will drown them. Just a thought.


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

Dandy line, You may not be familiar with Washington state. There are 4 Solidagos listed in the WA native lists, one locally to me. Lows are compatible with zone 7, so perennials do go dormant here, and if a plant needs good drainage I plant it in a raised bed or on a slope. I've seen temperatures down to 6*F.

Sadly, my first seeds I planted are not coming up after 20 days, so I will have to try some chilling to see if that helps.

We get a lot of rain in the winter, true, though sometimes not so much, but we have nearly no rain all summer so plants here do better if they can stand dry conditions. The east coast tends to get summer rain so they have to have a drought there to appreciate gardening in the conditions that are normal for here.

Here is a link that might be useful: Solidago lepida = canadensis


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

Just discovered this thread and I figured I'd chime in. I formerly worked for a native plant nursery in WI and have some experience propagating s. odora. They are easy to grow from cuttings that are 2" or less above the soil and 1" below in a controlled setting. I don't see why the same wouldn't work for producing s. canadensis, but I wouldn't know since we didn't grow any of it.

I would exercise extreme caution when planting s. canadensis in areas where other natives are growing. It is extremely aggressive and will out-compete its neighbors in many cases. I never plant any since it is one of the most common plants in my neck of the woods. I can look out the window during the Fall months and see thousands of these plants growing. I do not use native plants for anything other than habitat improvement, so I am not able to comment on its medicinal use. If your goal is to sustain insects, I would vote for planting something other than s. canadensis if it is already common in your area. Biodiversity is important. The goldenrod species that I have planted in my formal garden areas include s. rigida, s. caesia, and s. flexicaulis. So far they have remained tidy and I haven't had issues with them spreading into places they shouldn't be.


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RE: solidago odora vs canadensis

Thanks for the info, Nick, but in my post above a ways, I said I was just getting S. nemoralis and Golden Baby seeds, and some plants none of which are canadensis, which I did read some horror stories with photos of major rhizome infestations. I've never actually seen any Goldenrods in my area.

Golden Baby seeds didn't come up after more than 3 weeks at room temps so I am chilling some seeds, as well as the nemoralis seeds. The plants don't arrive until April, and I am excited to see how they do. Hopefully in time I can spread them around. I am hoping to get some nemoralis plants to use in the wooded areas though. The S. odora plants sound really good for at least making good tea, maybe not so much for medicinal uses, though most of the species of Goldenrod were used by the Native American tribes for various ailments.


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