Finding beauty

October 1st marked the first day I set foot in the Ashley Schiff Park Preserve. At first, I was skeptical about how this little “field trip” would go. Especially because the first thing my professor said was “look at all this poison ivy.” Despite avoiding the poison ivy and fearing all the spiders, I started to relax when I noticed all the beauty around me. I decided to forget my fears and take pictures of all the pretty flowers and weird fungi I could find. In a world of green and brown, the bright yellow flower Solidago, commonly called the Goldenrod, stood out to me the most. iNaturalist couldn’t identify the exact species of Goldenrod. The IUCN Redlist lists Goldenrod as a genus of “least concern” in North America with over 100 known species of Goldenrod, so I’m guessing that’s why it couldn’t be identified.

Besides its beauty, I know that Goldenrod has many uses. In a journal article I read, I found that Goldenrod, popular among Native Americans, treats symptoms not only for the common cold and cough, but also for measles and tuberculosis. The Native Americans would boil the leaves and flowers for tea. I’m a huge tea drinker myself so maybe next time I have a cold I’ll give Goldenrod a chance. On top of being a magic medicinal flower, many perfume and candle factories use the flowers as a popular fragrance for aromatherapy stress relief. Guess what I’m blowing all my money on for finals week.

Amanda Thomas


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