Autumn Allergies

Kentucky’s Official State Flower is not your problem!

It’s a crying (pun intended) shame that Goldenrod–Kentucky’s Official State Flower–gets blamed for so many autumn allergies. Part of the issue is that Goldenrod flowers burst forth in their full yellow glory right about the time as the real culprits do. And Goldenrod’s beautiful flowers outshine those of the pale green ragweed blooms.

Kentucky State Flower - Goldenrod

Goldenrod–Kentucky’s State Flower

But make no mistake, ragweed is the real villain. Whereas Goldenrod pollen is relatively large and heavy–spread by bees and other insects–ragweed pollen is small and light, and easily spread on the wind. Ragweed–all 15 species–grows throughout the continental United States. It will live on dusty back roads or city side streets. There is no escape.  And though its botanical name is Ambrosia, don’t be fooled. It ain’t so sweet.

Ragweed

Ragweed (Ambrosia artemisiifolia)

Ragweed does have its upside, though. Farm animals, such as cows and pigs, thrive on it. And it’s very good about providing new ground cover after a flood or fire.

Does ragweed give you fits in the fall?

© Wade Kingston

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