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Ragweed Gives Goldenrod a Bad Name

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Feel free to bring flowering stems of goldenrod inside your house – its heavy pollen is moved by insects and not wind. It’s ragweed that makes copious amounts of nose-irritating pollen so light weight that breezes blow it far and wide. Our most common ragweed is Ambrosia artesimifolia (I can’t find any reason it’s called ambrosia --the food of the gods ) and it grows about three feet high. But in the upstate where soils are heavier, giant rag weed thrives as a major pest. It gets over ten feet tall and makes far more pollen and seeds than its shorter relative. Rag weed seeds are tiny, with a beak that helps them stick to other surfaces, and now this native is a noxious weed worldwide as those seeds been uninvited hitch hikers in grain shipments to other countries.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.