Once considered pesky weeds, these accent flowers are ideal for garden-style and wildflower designs.

family matters. 
Solidago (pronounced sol-i-DAY-go or sol-i-DAW-go) is commonly known as goldenrod. A wildflower native mostly to North America but also to South America, Europe and Asia, Solidago is a member of the large Asteraceae/Compositae (sunflower) family. Relatives include asters, chrysanthemums, Gerberas, marguerites, Dahlias and Zinnias as well as hundreds of other flower types.

parent and child. 
Solidago is also closely related to and closely resembles Solidaster (commonly known as yellow aster or golden aster), and with good reason: Solidaster is a cross between Solidago and upland white Asters (A. ptarmicoides).

here’s lookin’ at you. 
Solidago has masses of tiny bright yellow florets in branching plumelike spikes. Stems are thin, leafy and generally 15 to 36 inches long.

myth buster
Contrary to popular belief, these flowers are not allergenic. Their pollen is heavy and not easily carried by wind; in arrangements and bouquets, they won’t cause allergic reactions among consumers. Ragweed (Ambrosia), with light pollen, is the most common cause of hay fever.

best buys. 
Purchase Solidago when an abundance (half to two-thirds) of buds are starting to open. Avoid bunches in which the florets are fully developed and showing pollen or turning brown. Foliage should be firm and bright green. Look for signs of rot along the stems, dry foliage, or browning of the stems or blossoms.

always on. 
Solidago is available year-round from both domestic and foreign growers.

the “weed’s” needs. 
These flowers are especially prone to water stress, so process them immediately upon their arrival in your shop. First, remove the bunches from the box(es), and check flower quality. Then remove all stem bindings and sleeves, followed by any damaged foliage as well as all foliage that would be under water in storage containers.

Next, rinse stems under tepid running water, then recut the ends, on an angle, with a sharp, sterilized blade, removing at least 1 inch of stem. Immediately dip or place the stems into a hydration solution, especially if flowers are wilted or limp, then place them into clean storage containers with lukewarm (100 F to 110 F) properly prepared fresh flower-food solution. (See “Special Concerns.”)

cool condition. 
Place storage containers immediately into a floral refrigerator, at 33 F to 35 F, with 80 percent to 90 percent relative humidity. Allow the flowers to take up water in the cooler for at least two hours before selling or designing with them.

life expectancy.
Solidago provides a vase life at the consumer level of seven to 10 days, depending on stage of maturity when sold and the care it receives. Advise consumers to recut the stems and change the flower-food solution in their containers every two or three days.

ethyl’s no problem. 
Solidago is not sensitive to ethylene gas.

special concerns.
These flowers are particularly susceptible to stem clogging by bacteria in container solution, so recut the stems and change the flower-food solution every other day.

In addition, Solidago foliage is prone to yellowing, but it is important to leave some foliage on stems in arrangements. Using a flower-food containing an anti-yellowing product can help prevent this occurrence.

fresh to dry. 
These diminutive flowers are excellent candidates for air drying. Collect stems at their peak condition, and hang small bunches upside down in a cool, dark, well-ventilated room until they’re dried. Shattering can be diminished by spraying dried bunches with a dry-flower sealant.

honored flowers. 
In 1895, Nebraska adopted Solidago as its official state flower, followed by Kentucky in 1926. South Carolina has two official state flowers; in 2003, the state adopted goldenrod as its second state flower.

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