nichepoetryandprose

poetry and prose about place

Posts Tagged ‘Solidago puberula

harvesting yellow … yes, yellow!

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After so many lovely browns in my palette of natural dyes, I have despaired of seeing anything but brown when I lift my wool roving from the dye pot.   A friend suggested I try Goldenrod (Solidago sp.).   Goldenrod, in a variety of species, is plentiful along the roads this time of year.  So, this week, on a drive to see our newly opened section of Route 8, we stopped long enough to collect a bag of Goldenrod.

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Goldenrod along the new highway

Goldenrod along the new highway

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Collecting Goldenrod is new to me.  I am always worried it may cause hay-fever, but I learned during my fact-finding – Goldenrod is rarely responsible for triggering allergies.  Its pollen is large and heavy and transported by insects and not the wind.  Ragweed is the real culprit, according to my reading.

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a glory of Solidago

a glory of Solidago

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I also took a crash course in Goldenrod identification – Goldenrods have always stayed on my ‘refuse to identify’ list.  They are actually quite easy to distinguish in our area.  There are only 14 common species in New Brunswick and identification points include the size and number of basal leaves, leaf venation, the degree of stem hairiness and the general shape of the inflorescence.  It was easy to discover the name of the species I collected – Downy Goldenrod (Solidago puberula Nutt.)

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a bag of Goldenrod took no time at all to collect

a bag of Goldenrod took no time at all to collect

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The collecting experience?  Bright and very aromatic.  Smelling Goldenrod is like stuffing your nose in a dandelion.

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I had lots of material to work with, so preparing the pot of dyestuff was enjoyable too.  And the smell as it boiled – very sweet.  Most of the plants I’ve used for dyestuff have an unpleasant smell like boiling cabbage.

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Goldenrod added to the dyepot

Goldenrod added to the dye pot

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The result was a yellow dye.

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the yellow dye of Solidago

the yellow dye of Solidago

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But since the colour of the dye seems unrelated to the resulting colour of the wool, my expectations were low.  Imagine my joy when the wool emerged from the dye-bath a beautiful lemony yellow!

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wool roving, treated with alum and simmered for an hour in Goldenrod dye

wool roving, treated with alum and simmered for an hour in Goldenrod dye

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Yellow!  Sigh.

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Copyright  2014  Jane Tims

Written by jane tims

August 29, 2014 at 7:08 am

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