An online resource based on the award-winning nature guide

Goldenrod Pollen

9-4-13 goldenrod pollen 305Goldenrod is an extremely important foraging plant for honeybees in the late summer, when its flowers produce prolific amounts of nectar and protein-rich pollen. Goldenrod pollen, the orange lump that you see packed into the pollen basket (after being mixed with saliva) on the hind leg of this honeybee, is often blamed for the allergies that many people experience in the late summer and early fall. It is falsely accused, however, as ragweed pollen is the real culprit. Being wind pollinated, ragweed has light, fluffy pollen, which is easily dispersed (and easily enters nostrils). Goldenrod pollen is large and sticky, allowing visiting insects to gather it (intentionally as well as unintentionally) all over their bodies and transfer it to other goldenrod flowers, therein cross-pollinating them.

Naturally Curious is supported by donations. If you choose to contribute, you may go to and click on the yellow “donate” button.

6 responses

  1. Mary, I always love the photos of bees that you try so hard to include in your photos. Remember, I saw you in action not so long ago!! Waiting for the bees, or flies, or whoever is attracted to your flower or mushroom or… Thank you once again!

    September 5, 2013 at 12:29 pm

  2. Penny March (ex VINS bander)

    A local beekeeper (northeast NY) told me that the goldenrod this year was producing loads of pollen but no nectar and he was having to supplement their feed with sugar water already. What do you think might have caused this?

    September 5, 2013 at 1:28 pm

    • Fascinating, Penny. I have no idea. I might have said lack of rain, but there’s been plenty of that this summer…I’d love to know if you find out the answer, and will see if I can, as well. Great to hear from you!

      September 5, 2013 at 2:24 pm

  3. Michele

    I especially loved this post, because I recently had this very discussion with a friend, how golden rod gets blamed for allergies, when its likely rag weed. Unfortunately, google images cannot reliably show the correct image for rag weed. Could you feature a blog of the stuff?

    I look forward to your posts- every day! Michele andrews, west hatfield, ma

    Sent from my iPhone

    September 6, 2013 at 2:15 am

  4. Penny March (ex VINS bander)

    Trying to find out about nectar- ran across these comments from a beekeeper in MN.

    September 6, 2013 at 5:32 pm

  5. Penny March (ex VINS bander)

    Another source––
    says clear, warm, windless days favor nectar production. Not enough of that this rainy summer.

    September 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s