Ragweed vs. Goldenrod are two weeds that have distinct differences that get you wondering what is growing in your backyard. They have a similar size, grow in the same regions, and flower at the same time.Ragweed Vs Goldenrod

One of these weed plants causes allergies, while the other is an essential source of pollen grains. Read on for knowledge nuggets on how to tell the difference in the weeds.

Features  Ragweed  Goldenrod
Leaves  Green, lobed, fern-like leaves Smooth, undivided green leaves
Stems  Highly branched Single-stemmed or branched near the top
Flowers  Hardly-seen green-yellow flowers that blend with the plant Bright yellow showy flowers that grow in clusters
Pollen grains Light, wind-disseminated allergic pollen grains Sticky, insect-pollinated pollen grains

What Are the Difference Between Ragweed and Goldenrod?

The main difference between Ragweed and Goldenrod is in their plant structure, leaf shape, and longevity, as ragweed plants have lobed, fern-like green leaves that grow on purple-tinted stems. On the other hand, goldenrod’s leaves are smooth, undivided, and green. The stems are green, as some have hints of purple.

Another way to differentiate between these two weed plants is by examining the color and abundance of the flowers. Ragweed’s flowers are green-yellow and can hardly be seen. They blend exceptionally well with the rest of the plant. On the contrary of the given, the goldenrod weed flowers grow in many clusters of bright yellow, and it is easy to tell them apart from the rest of the plant.

If you didn’t get a chance to distinguish these plants from afar, the effects of their pollen grains could help you tell their difference. This is why you must see how ragweed’s non-showy flowers contain pollen grains that cause hay fever, and you should also remember that they also don’t attract pollinators, so the plants produce through wind pollination.

Goldenrod weeds are safer to be close to, as their showy flowers produce non-allergic pollen grains, making them safe plants in the backyard. The showy flowers are also attractive to insects like butterflies and wasps, and the stickiness of the pollen makes them suitable for insect pollination and this way, the process would be accomplished.

To elaborate further, these two plants have varying longevity when it comes to pollination. Ragweed plants are annuals, meaning they germinate, flower, and die after one season, on the other hand, goldenrods are perennials, so they keep reoccurring after seasons.

Exploring the Features, Problems, and Uses of Ragweed Plants

The key feature of Ragweed is one of the few plants you must immediately remove from your home. While keeping and nurturing plants in your backyard is essential, the plant’s pollen grains will leave you sneezing for days, and the flowers aren’t conspicuous and colorful, so they don’t add aesthetics.Characteristics of Ragweed

In addition to this, you must also know that Ragweed seems like an unwanted and disadvantageous plant; you can identify it by examining the leaves, flowers, stems, and pollen grains. However, don’t sniff the pollen grains because they are allergic. Besides the allergies Ragweed causes, it has its uses, but it’s essential first to learn how to identify it.

– Leaves and Stem

Look at the leaves if you have safety concerns about the new plant growing in your backyard. Ragweed plants have twice or double compound green leaflets with a fern-like appearance. These could be six inches long and four inches wide, depending on how big the plant is.

As the plant germinates, the first leaves have some purple hue, although they can resemble other young weeds. As the plant grows, the leaf’s shape changes to look like a palm. Some of the varieties of these leaves have five segments, while others have three, and you would also see that the leaf edges are serrated and lobbed.

You can confirm if the plant is Ragweed by looking at the stem just by the look of it. Ragweed stems are green with tiny white hairs. The stems are also highly branched from the bottom and become denser at the top.

– Flowers

There is nothing colorful about Ragweed blooms when you would see how they are tiny and inconspicuous, so they can’t tempt you to keep the plant in your backyard. The flowers are also green, like the rest of the plant, so you can hardly tell them apart from the rest.

Ragweed produces monoecious flowers, meaning they have both female and male parts, and this is how they are prone to pollinate. Other Ragweed types have small flowers close to the base, which appear like small bumps. They turn yellow-green and then yellow-brown on maturity, producing small, dry, single-seed browning fruits.

– Pollen Grains

The ‘bad guy’ in Ragweed plants is the pollen grains. First, they grow in inconspicuous flowers, which don’t attract pollinators. This is why, you won’t notice insect visitors in Ragweed flowers or pollen grains, meaning they are wind pollinated.Allergic Pollen Grains

Also, Ragweed pollen grains should be avoided like the plague. They cause Ragweed allergies which cause sneezing, runny and stuffy nose, and puffy eyes. Other homeowners will show symptoms of itchy eyes and throat and mucus in the throat.

In addition, when it comes to Ragweed pollen, they are very light and travel long distances. These can also be transported by insects, making them a nuisance, and even with them, when the pollen land on your clothes or hair, as they would stick.

To reduce the spread of allergies, ensure you cover your hair when walking around Ragweed raided areas, keep the windows closed and change air filters often to avoid the spread of pollen to the house. You can also wash your hair and clothes after walking in Ragweed raided areas.

– Longevity

One thing to celebrate about Ragweed plants is that they are annuals. They germinate, flower, produce seeds, and die in one season. However, the plants’ death doesn’t mean they won’t grow again. The produced seeds spread and germinate, producing new plants, and the cycle continues.

– Ways To Control

Since Ragweed is a problem-causing plant, you must learn how to control them. First, these weeds grow in heavy, untilled, and poorly fertilized soils, but they don’t like being mowed. Therefore, mowing your lawn frequently will keep this plant away, and they won’t be present anymore and nor will their pollination grains.

Since the weed grows in poorly fertilized soils, ensure you fertilize your garden with compost and other organic fertilizers to keep the weed away. But, choose suitable fertilizers depending on the crops you grow.

You should also keep checking your garden and yard for the growth of new weeds. Ensure you cut off any new unknown plant before it turns out to be Ragweed. And if you realize you have Ragweed in your compound, pull it out before it flowers and produces pollen or, even worse, seeds.

– Uses

Surprisingly, this foe can be a friend too. Ragweed leaves, and fruits are used as skin disinfectants, astringents, and fever reducers. The pollen grains are also collected commercially and manufactured into treatments for allergies. The leaves and the terminal bud of the plant also treat diarrhea; the roots can cure heart diseases.

Exploring the Features and Uses of a Goldenrod Plant

The features of goldenrod plant are that they are single-stemmed or branched at the top, having bright and yellow flowers. In addition, the weed plant has beautiful green leaves with conspicuous bright flowers that show in summer or early fall.Characteristics of Goldenrod

Unlike the other weeds, goldenrod plants grow beautifully and harmlessly in the backyard or garden. Their pollen grains are non-allergic, although they could cause skin reactions in some people. In addition to the unproblematic pollen grains and beautiful flowers, goldenrod plants also have medicinal uses.

– Leaves and Stem

The goldenrod is an evergreen plant with alternate green leaves that are almost three to six inches long and one inch wide. The leaves are also smooth at the top and undivided. However, they have serrated edges and margins, and this is what signifies them.

Looking at the leaves closely, you will see three native parallel veins at the leaf base. They also have a pointed tip, narrow at the base, and lack leaf stem. The leaf’s underside is hairy, and other goldenrod leaf types have a roughly textured top, a key feature.

The plant has a singular green stem that branches near the top of the plant. This leaves the bottom scarcely covered, with a dense top. However, the leaf shape and size should not be the only distinguishing feature because goldenrod look alikes are ones that have similar leaves and stem.

– Flowers

You will enjoy the goldenrod plant if you love having flowers in your backyard or garden. It produces many clusters of bright yellow flowers that are easy to spot from afar. These flowers hang down and curve slightly away towards the main stalk.

While the clusters are easily visible, individual flowers are tiny and measure about an eighth inch in length and width; on the same note, these crowd in 10 to almost 20 stems, making a panicle of showy and noticeable flowers. These flowers will begin forming seed heads two to four weeks after production. The seed heads have tiny feathery hairs to attract pollen grains.

– Pollen Grains

Goldenrod plants have sticky and unproblematic pollen grains. Because of the conspicuous flowers, the sticky pollen grains are insect pollinated. Therefore, you will notice many insects surrounding goldenrod plant flowers.

The pollen is also allergy free when they are around, it won’t be such a hazard. However, some people suffer goldenrod allergy when exposed to the pollen grains, which causes skin rush, and other seasonal symptoms like sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes.

– Growth Conditions

Since goldenrods are beautiful and unproblematic plants, you can keep them alive by providing full sun or partial shade. Too much sun scorches the leaves, and too little will not be enough for growth, which is why they would grow in indirect or shaded light.Growing Goldenrod in Garden

The plants also do well in mediumly moist soil, and for this, you should water them occasionally to keep the leaves from drying. A lot of water causes root rot in plants, which stops transporting essential nutrients to other plant parts. Another growing condition for goldenrods to consider is the type of soil and since the plant does well in medium-moist soil, the soil should be well draining. This plant is advantageous because it is not picky with the soil types.

– Medicinal Uses

Besides the beautiful flowers of goldenrod plants, it has many medicinal benefits. First, if you drink too much water, you can take it as a diuretic. The plant increases urine output, flushing water out of the body.

So you should also know that if you suffer from colds, flu, arthritis, and bladder inflammation, taking the goldenrod plant will help. You can use it on the skin to reduce eczema and heal minor wounds. And although some people suffer allergies when they come into contact with golden plant pollen, its parts also cure allergies.


There are many ways to differentiate between Ragweed and goldenrod, as seen in this article. First, goldenrod plants have more conspicuous yellow flowers that grow in clusters, while Ragweed has green, hardly-seen flowers. Also, both plants have different leaves and longevity. Ragweed has green, fern-like leaves, while goldenrod has smooth, undivided leaves.

Choosing the plant to keep between Ragweed and goldenrod is easy, but it also causes allergic reactions with symptoms like skin rash and eye irritation, so you should always get rid of it. You can grow goldenrod plants because they have beautiful flowers, and their pollen grains do not cause problems. These plants are also suitable habitats for animals.

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