Goldenrod Afternoon-Or Not-Learned Something New

Rabbitbrush collage
All of the photos above were taken last week on our quest for goldenrod. Turns out after reading up and doing some investigation and actually helping another OH Challenge family to identify a mystery flower, I learned that this is not goldenrod but rather rabbitbrush.

We spent quite a bit of time looking at and comparing photos with our field guide and on Turns out to be something new to us….Rabbitbrush.

We had a sample of the flower and that really helped us when it got right down to making a firm identification.

We decided to turn to the chrysanthemum for our formal nature study this week and we talked about composite flowers and made a journal entry.

I think we were still successful and learned so much about our local wildflowers. We spent a glorious afternoon on a perfect autumn day together outdoors as a family.


Hat Tip to Alex for the new Flickr tool to make the mosaic with photos. Thanks!


  1. Your pictures are really pretty.

  2. You know, they say we learn much more from our mistakes than our successes. I believe that wholeheartedly.I bet none of you will ever forget goldenrod OR rabbitbrush as long as you live!LOL!

  3. Theresa,

    You are so very right. After completing our research, we decided that goldenrod blooms here in August and we remember seeing it alongside our bike trail. We are going to keep our eyes out next summer and we will complete our goldenrod study then.

    We learned a lot.
    Barb-Harmony Art Mom

  4. After looking at your photos of your “goldenrod” I was feeling pretty smug about our “goldenrod” too…..HA! Rabbit bush eh?

  5. Barb-

    Thanks for your help! When I was trying to identify our pictures I had almost decided we had found a different variety of goldenrod from the pictures I looked at online and in our books, but now we know the difference!! My kids love using the name rabbitbush– they are on the lookout when we are out walking just so they can yell it out!


  6. I’ve got to double check mine now. Actually, I need to take new photos before I post. The wind was blowing so hard that day, my photos are not super clear.

    Your photos are great. And what a wonderful opportunity for learning.

  7. Anonymous says:

    “There was a tang of sage and pine in the air, and our horse was midside deep in rabbit-brush, a shrub just covered with flowers that look and smell like goldenrod.”

    Last night I came across this sentence in the book I was reading and it took me a minute to realize why “rabbit-brush” was a familiar word to me. Then I remembered reading your recent post and wanted to share the quote with you.

    The book is called “Letters of a Woman Homesteader” and is a compilations of the letters of a young widow who took a claim in Wyoming in 1909. Very interesting! The author is Elinore Pruitt Stewart, if you are interested. Her writing is just lovely and humorous and her vocabulary leaves me feeling ashamed of my own lack.

    Thanks for your posts, we live in a city, but I grew up in the country and love seeing “the green.”


  8. Rabbitbrush is very common here .. there are actually 2 kinds (green & grey) though I can’t really tell the difference unless they are side by side. Here is a little medicinal info from our nature walks:

    Medicinal Uses
    *Poultice made from chewed plant tips can be applied to boils and rheumatic joints.
    *Infusion of leaves used to treat colds.
    *Finely mashed leaves inserted into tooth cavities to treat toothache.

    Food Uses
    *Latex from root used as chewing gum.

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