Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Finding the Golden Cities

Golden Cities is the term that Comstock uses in the Handbook of Nature Study to refer to Goldenrod. 

We've been spending the last week studying the Goldenrod. A plant that makes Poppa sneeze and wheeze, poor Poppa. We didn't bring but a little into the house for fear that it would hurt his allergies.

But we still studied the plant intensively. The first week we read the story of the Golden Cities from the Handbook of Nature Study. Then we did the lesson, with me asking lots of questions and the all of us doing lots of observing.

The second week we took notes and used our watercolor pencils to make sketches of the plant.

Here are my notes (all from the Handbook of Nature Study): 
  • Bumblebees, grasshoppers, mining bees, chalcid flies, small bees, honeybees, carpenter bees, soldier beetles, and black blister beetles can all be found near the goldenrod.
  • The flowers grow on green looking bracts and cups on the top of the stem only. They're very close together.
  • Tubular disc flowers open out like bells. From the centers, there are long pollen tubes or 2 parted stigmas.
  • Ray flowers have fruits with pretty fringed pappus.

On the third week, we brought some of the individual flowers in and looked at them under the stereoscope. Then we did sketches in our nature notebook of what they look like up close.

Finally, we searched for galls. We didn't find any, but we are planning to continue our search in November when the insect will be swelling. Unsure of what galls are? Here's what we learned at our local environmental center...

"Goldenrod galls are cause by the goldenrod gall fly. It lays its eggs in the stem of the plant and causes them to swell. The fly will live inside it all winter and then chew their way out when they’re ready to fly. The exit holes are small. If it is a large jagged hole, a woodpecker has gotten to it." ~Brown's Environmental Center.

Wishing you homeschool blessings,

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MrsYub said...

This is fascinating! It is not a plant I recognise, but I think it looks lovely :)

Bethany said...

Oh my! We've got soooo many here. The fields around us look gold.

Harvest Moon by Hand said...

I like the term "golden cities" - it perfectly describes the world I'm looking at right now. Significant parts of our farm are covered with goldenrod. Enjoyed reading your post about your multi-week study of goldenrod!

Bethany said...

Yes. Our fields are starting to fill too! I'm glad you enjoyed the study.

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