We head to Kentucky, and bluegrass-land, for the next in our state flower series. The state flower of Kentucky is the pretty goldenrod. And of course, it’s worth mentioning that bluegrass is the state’s official grass. Because nothing else, after all, is conceivable.
Let’s talk about the pretty wild goldenrod, though, which grows in abundance in Kentucky. Giving its name to a warm version of yellow, the goldenrod is part of the aster family (officially, Asteraceae). There are between a hundred and 120 species of goldenrod, with heights from just a couple of inches to tall and proud. These plants are perennials, and they are survivors.
The pretty flowers appear in summer and early fall, and insects, rather than the wind, pollinate them. Interestingly, they’ve been embraced as cultivated plants in Europe much more than Stateside, where only in the last few decades have the plants been seen as something desirable for a backyard.
Goldenrod has more uses than just being attractive, though; the younger flowers are edible, and you can make tea from them also. They make a good, dark honey when supplied to bees, too; it’s milder when goldenrod is the only flower the bees sip for their hives.
Thomas Edison experimented with the natural rubber found in goldenrod, but it’s not really industrial-grade. More usefully, the plant has been used in traditional medicine to cure sore throats, toothache and kidney ailments.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this, our latest foray into the world of state flowers. Goldenrod is also the state flower of Nebraska and the state wildflower of South Carolina, both of which we’ll visit later down the series. Goldenrod isn’t really a blossom for flower arrangements, but it’s a gorgeous plant in its own right and we think that all flowers are worthy of note.