Weeds – Journal of the Asian-Pacific Weed Science Society
|Type of article
Canada Goldenrod (Solidago canadensis L.): An Aggressive Colonizer or a Useful Resource?
Gregory J. Duns and Nimal R. Chandrasena
Current Address: AirChem Consulting and Research, London, Ontario Canada N5X 0E2
Solidago canadensis; goldenrod; colonizing; biomass utilization; renewability; sustainability
Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis L.) is a controversial and misunderstood plant species. It is an example of both a maligned weed, even in its native lands, and a problematic colonizer at locations where it has become established. In both native and introduced environments, it tends to become a dominant species of high-density growth. In places where it is a native plant, goldenrod is tolerated to a limited extent as it is non-toxic to humans and, in general, not detrimental to fauna. Goldenrod has historically been used as a source of herbal medicine, especially by indigenous North Americans. However, goldenrod is also an aggressive colonizing species characterized by prolific growth that crowds out other species, and this aspect is of concern at locations where it can invade and expand its territory of occupation rapidly. Regardless, in both native and non-native (invasive) environments, Canada goldenrod is often dealt with by pulling or digging out plants and either burning them or leaving them to rot. However, as a potential source of biomass, it is also a resource to be utilized. Canada goldenrod has seen limited utilization, mainly as a source of natural compounds and extracts for medicinal or nutritional uses. The present report is an overview and perspective of Canada goldenrod in terms of its properties, characteristics, growth and habitat, as well as its positive and negative aspects. In our view, the utilization options of Canada goldenrod as a viable biological resource are real although broader opportunities for applications may require further development.