The yellow clusters of sweet smelling flowers would wave in the prairie wind, and gravel would crunch under my bike tires. The hot August sun would shine down on the treeless pasture, and clouds moving swiftly by would douse the scene in moments of shade as they passed. My mom, probably on the porch or stretching up from weeding the garden, would comment on their swaying, and she taught me their name. This is how I met Canada Goldenrod as a child.
Until recently, I didn’t know it could be made into tea AND until a few days ago, had never been introduced to its relative, the California Goldenrod.
Now that I know they’re related, I can see the resemblance. They have similar lance leaves and the tiny yellow flowers, fluffed up like Woodstock’s hair. The arrangement of their flowers is the main difference between them. California Goldenrod has its flowers in sprays around the stem, while Canada Goldenrod has flower sprays in long plumes extending from the stem.
The leaves and flowers of both can be steeped in boiling water as a tea. All Goldenrods (species Solidago) have antitumor, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, analgesic, and diuretic properties.
1. Peterson Field Guides: Western Medicinal Plants and Herbs