Alpine Lady

Honoring the natural world through prose, poetry, music, sounds, photographs and musings.

An Evening Quest for Goldenrod



Recently Michael and I felt the need to take an evening drive and check on the tall spires of Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis ) which we collect beginning in late July. We could tell a storm was on brewing above the Olympic Mountains to the south and the timing was perfect to gather some herb before the rains came and delayed harvest. At our favorite collection spot in the drying grasses adjacent to a cattle pasture, the rich conical heads shone golden-yellow in the setting sunlight.

Conical spires of Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis)

Conical spires of Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis).

Thousands of sun-drenched blossoms, each its own golden-rayed orb, attract a myriad of pollinators hungry for nectar to store for winter. It also hosts insect herbivores and predators all utilizing some aspect of the plant or those that come to visit it.

An insect attractor for pollinators and herbivores

An insect attractor for pollinators and herbivores.

Goldenrod has a spicy aroma and citrusy flavor which I find numbs the tongue slightly when chewed raw. It has a solid place in folk lore medicinals with many applications including treating urinary tract infections, alleviating allergies including cat allergies and hay fever, reducing sore throats and fevers, and relieving muscle soreness. Michael makes a soothing and effective muscle salve using coconut oil as the base. I use it to ease muscle stiffness and as an ankle rub to remove edema.

Golden-rayed orbs of beauty.

Golden-rayed orbs of beauty.

After a successful gathering, the throaty wild call of a bald eagle caught our attention and we watched as it flew to a tall snag overlooking the valley backlit by a faint rainbow gracing the darkening sky.

The distant rumbling of thunder beckoned us back into our car and we drove along the rim of the valley taking every advantage to see the majesty of the storm sweep through. The sky above the Dungeness Cemetery was particularly picturesque.

Storm brewing above pioneers cemetery where we like to take photographs of the valley below.

Storm brewing above Dungeness Cemetery, a favorite spot to photograph the valley below and the Olympic Mountains throughout the year.

Once home, the Goldenrod was put away to wilt for an evening, computers shut down, and we continued to watch the storm and rain squalls sweep across the valley, lightning crisscross the sky, and the trees start to sway as winds picked up the smell of dust and then of damp earth. I waited in anticipation when suddenly a bolt was launched in front of me that jarred my nerves and left an imprint on my retinas. I stepped back under the porch overhang as the heavy, cold drops descended smelling of mud.

Later as the storm passed, the sun sinking quite low on the horizon found spots to break through the lowest layer of cloud cover casting a deep, golden-yellow glow punctuated by horizontal flashes of lightning. A perfect ending to an evening quest for Goldenrod.

The golden-yellow sky after the storm passed through.

The golden-yellow sky after the storm passed through.

Until our next journey together, may peace grace your lives.  ~ P



5 thoughts on “An Evening Quest for Goldenrod

  1. Fabulous! Thank you…i’ll look at it more on the marrow. Hydrosol, hmmm : )

  2. The Solomon Seal has such an evocative scent. Have you considered a hydrosol for its medicinal qualities, too? Here’s an awesome link:

  3. Mine as well, as it first hooked my attention at age 14. I want to try drying some Solomon Seal this fall as it grows abundantly; also inspired by you. : )

  4. Along with Elecampane and Solomon Seal, it is a plant of deep wisdom that resonates with my soul.

  5. Wow! What gorgeousness! I love that you are sharing the macro & the micro to your wanderings, although you do not wander if you have a purpose…and I love hearing about that too. You have inspired me to put up some goldenrod… I could use some of that salve Right Now! xo

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