Field of Science

Friday Fabulous Flower - Goldenseal

Yes, today is Friday, and TPP is having trouble because yesterday seemed like Friday, so Friday, Friday. Hmm, Monday, Monday was a pretty good song, but Friday is just one of the every other days of the week. It's the end of the semester today, May 1st, May Day, so there are lots of people here abouts thankful for that. But on to the flower. Here's a pretty neat woodland ephemeral that grows widely in eastern North America, but how many of you have ever seen it in the wild? Let us know if you have. TPP has only seen goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis - buttercup family) a handful of times and never here in northern Lincolnland. Goldenseal grows a lot like bloodroot sending up leafy shoots in the spring terminated by it's strange, not terribly conspicuous flower, although not strange by buttercup standards, which has no perianth so the somewhat dilated stamen filaments produce the floral display such that it is. Later the pistils fuse to produce a small raspberry-like red fruit with several seeds. TPP has a couple growing in his woodland garden obtained from a reputable nursery where they were seed grown. Why so uncommon? Well, goldenseal is highly sought as a herbal medicine and it has been subject to severe over-harvesting to the point that in many areas it's just about gone. Habitat destruction is the other reason; woodland plants need woodlands.

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