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Goldenroad and Pollinators

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Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. Clumps of goldenrod are brightening our roadsides and gardens. Garden club ladies don’t want watery eyes or runny noses, so you can bet they did their homework before encouraging our General Assembly to name goldenrod as the state wildflower. Plants with showy colorful flowers are usually trying to attract insect pollinators to carry their relatively heavy pollen from one flower to the next, and that’s exactly what happens with goldenrod. So put the blame on the small, nondescript male flowers of the ubiquitous native ragweed which depend on wind to move their pollen to receptive female blossoms and also into our faces. After the wind does its part to help in reproduction, each plant makes thousands of seeds and they can last 40 years! Native to North America, this annual weed has moved with grain shipments across the world.

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.