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SCIWAY News No. 75 – September 2009

Previous Issues of SCIWAY News

Two for the Road! Autumn's SC State Symbols – Goldenrod and Sweetgrass

This fall SCIway brings you two new South Carolina symbols – goldenrod and sweetgrass. Both grow wild along our roadsides this time of year, so you can spot them easily just by driving around our state.

Today we feature goldenrod, our state wildflower. Goldenrod is easy to recognize as it grows profusely along South Carolina roadsides and has deep yellow flowers which bloom from early September through the first frost. Its height distinguishes it as well – it can grow anywhere from four to eight feet tall.

— Goldenrod & Sweetgrass in Bloom in the Fall —
Photo by Elizabeth McConnell of Hamlin Farms

We hope you will take a moment to enjoy our complete guide to goldenrod in South Carolina. Here are just a few fun facts to pique your interest.
  • Goldenrod was almost passed over as our state symbol for Queen's Anne Lace – which isn't even native to our state!

  • Despite common folklore, Goldenrod does not cause allergies – that blame goes to its pesky partner ragweed, which also bears yellow flowers in the fall.

  • Goldenrod is really important to South Carolina bees, who feast on it each autumn in preparation for the cold winter months ahead.

  • South Carolina's Native Americans called Goldenrod "Sun Medicine" because of its bright color. They would cook the leaves and flowers together and put the mixture on cuts and wounds to promote a speedy recovery.

  • Back in the 1920s, before the Germans figured out how to make synthetic tires from coal and petroleum, Henry Ford and Firestone paid nearly 100 grand to determine a plant-based source for rubber. Who did they pick to head up the experiments? None other than Thomas Edison himself! And which plant did he decide worked best? You guessed it – goldenrod!
In just two weeks, we'll send out our calendar of South Carolina events and our SC Photo of the Month, just like always. But stay tuned the first week of October, when we'll celebrate sweetgrass and sweetgrass baskets – South Carolina's state handicraft.

Be sure to also check our guides to two more of South Carolina's symbols that we enjoy every fall – the elegant eastern tiger swallowtail and the wonderful wild turkey!

Goldenrod Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Wild Turkey

© 2009 SCIway.net, LLC. "SCIWAY News"™ is written by the team at SCIWAY – with a lot of help from people throughout South Carolina. ISSN: 1527-3903.

Our mailing address is PO Box 13318, James Island, South Carolina 29422.

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SCIway, pronounced "sky-way," is an acronym for South Carolina Information Highway.


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