Solidago canadensis (yellow-weed, common goldenrod)

description: herbaceous perennial

place of origin: eastern North America

urban habitat: common in neglected residential and commercial landscapes, minimally maintained parks, vacant lots, rubble dumps, abandoned grasslands and meadows, highway banks, roadsides, drainage ditches, along railroad tracks.

ecological function: disturbance-adapted colonizer of bare ground; food for variety of insect pollinators and herbivores; erosion control on slopes.

history: Although native to North America, Solidago canadensis has become naturalized in Britain, parts of Europe and Asia. It is considered a widespread invasive species in temperate Europe and Asia. Thomas Edison experimented with goldenrod sap to produce rubber, which it contains naturally, although it was never developed commercially. Native Americans used all parts of Solidago canadensis for a variety of medicinal purposes: its roots used in treatment of burns, tea from its flowers used to treat fevers and snakebites, crushed flowers chewed for sore throats, and leaf extracts used as diuretic and antispasmodic. An infusion of the dried powered herb can be used as an antiseptic and its flowers are analgesic and have been used to reduce fevers. It has also proved to be of value used internally in treatment of urinary infections, bladder and kidney stones, as well as for rheumatism and arthritis. In Germany, its leaves are approved for treatment of diseases of the urinary tract. Its young leaves and stems are edible when cooked, and a tea can be made from its flowers and leaves.