You've seen this showy flower along roadsides, in meadows and along riverbanks and likely though - that causes hay fever or allergies. Perhaps you've admired the brilliant yellow of Goldenrod but shied away from it in garden centers because you were worried that it might be poorly received in your neighborhood as an ornamental. Guess what - Goldenrod does not cause hay fever in early fall. That's another plant called ragweed that blooms at the same time. Ragweed has a green flower so it's not easily recognized and it grows in the same area as goldenrod. Because goldenrod is such a showy flower, it got all the blame for haymfever.
There are hundreds of species of Goldenrod in North America and they grow in all kinds of places. They put out a brilliant show of yellow flowers each fall and are a key food source for pollinators as they prepare for winter. Goldenrod is also a food souce for many birds who eat its seeds over winter. When Goldenrod grows, it also enriches the soil with nitrogen so it's a great plant to help build soil. It spreads via rhizomes or roots as well as seeds so it can be exceptionally hard to get rid of if it is growing in an area. Goldenrod can be found in many plant centers as a perennial and many of the cultivars are less aggressive.
This important pollinator plant is often thought of as a weed but it is simply a very successful native member of the Aster family. So next time you drive by a large swatch of this lovely fall bloomer, appreciate it for it's lovely flowers and hardy ability to grow in almost any soil type.