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Report From An Opinionated Gardener – September 5

Since we’re having a wedding at Poison Ivy Acres this Saturday, the talk over the past week has been of venues, ceremonies and flowers. The groom’s mother remembered meeting with the florist for her wedding, and seeing that the arrangements all contained Solidago.

“That flower won’t do,” her mother remarked, “because all of my family is allergic to ragweed.” I told my friend that the funny thing is that goldenrod isn’t the same as ragweed, and none of her family would have reacted to those flowers.

Goldenrod has been framed. Since it’s so yellow and showy, so obviously filled with pollen when people are feeling allergic, it gets blamed for causing all that discomfort. No one gives a second glance to ragweed, green, unassuming plant that it is. No one notices Ambrosia artemisiifolia at all.

So the goldenrod pollen, which is too large and heavy to float in the air, is credited for allergies while everyone ignores the real culprit. This is reminiscent of so many other situations in our lives. We focus on the red flag, the bright yellow pollen and the loudest voices while the real sources of our distress are quietly churning out their poisons without disruption.

Next time your attention is caught by the strident and  showy, ask yourself, “Is this really ragweed, or am I being distracted by goldenrod?”

Goldenrod pollen doesn't bother anyone since it's too large and waxy to float in the air.

Everyone walks right by the true ragweed, however, not realizing that this nearly invisible plant is what causes so many allergies.

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