Canada Goldenrod, Solidago canadensis L.
Can you spot any bees feeding on the goldenrod?
This plant is characterized by its branching growth and obvious yellow color. Canada goldenrod is originally from eastern North America but has spread to the West Coast and even other countries, namely Japan and China. The plant is sometimes considered an invasive species because it has been known to reduce existing plant populations, like oranges, already in the region. When we think about the future of our planet’s food supply, the Canada goldenrod is not a plant that may come to mind… but wait, what about the bees?
Bees are responsible for pollinating a huge number of our fruit plants throughout the growing seasons each year. Once these seasons are over, however, bees still need to eat — and when they do, they turn to hardy late autumn plants like Canada goldenrod. This plant provides essential proteins needed to survive cold winters and pollinate important crops in the following warmer seasons. Research has shown that warming climates and higher CO2 levels are making it hard for plants like the Canada goldenrod to produce enough protein to feed bees in fall. This, along with other threats against important pollinators, poses a potential problem all fruit-eaters of the world. Do you think bees and other local species would consider this plant to be invasive?