Golden rod, Solidago virgaurea
Golden rod, also called woundwort, is one of the commonest flowering plants in Finland, and grows throughout the country. The bright-yellow flowers keep well in water as cut flowers, and are also suitable for drying.
Golden rod is used to make dyes for natural fibres. The colours derived from it are golden yellow, olive green, and brown. The whole plant can be used for dyeing, or only the inflorescences (the flowering parts).
Something to try
Dyeing woollen yarn yellow
100 g dried or 1 kg of fresh golden rod flowers
10 g of alum (a binding agent that helps the dye to be retained by the yarn)
100 g woollen yarn
First prepare the dye.
Chop the golden rod into small pieces and put in a saucepan.
Add enough water to just cover the sorrel.
Boil for an hour.
Pour the mixture through a sieve to remove the plant material.
Add enough cold water to give 3-5 litres of dye.
Add the alum to the dye and stir well.
Wet the woollen yarn with lukewarm water and add the dye.
Slowly bring the mixture to boiling point over a low heat, stirring occasionally for about an hour.
After that, rinse the yarn thoroughly and allow it to dry in a shaded place.
Gathering the plants
Golden rod is most likely to be found in forests that receive sunshine, on open land, slopes, shores, and in meadows and roadside areas. Golden rod can be gathered throughout the growing season. It flowers in June and August.
Other interesting facts
From the Middle Ages up to the 19th century, golden rod was used to treat urinary tract infections. The plant contains chemical compounds called saponins, which promote kidney function by increasing their rate of excretion of liquid and waste products. The Natural Resources Institute Finland (LUKE) is currently studying the economic and other potential of cultivation of golden rod.