Golden rod (Solidago canadensis)

I love this plant with its fluffy, frondy flowers and woody stems, seen here growing in my parents garden near Bath. I used to ride my imaginary horse around the giant clumps and jump up and over the tops! It can be found vigorously flowering at this time of the year and is much loved by bees and other insects.

A member of the daisy (Asteracea) family, it is another plant which has a habit of taking over the garden when you’re not looking. It has rhizomes as its root system and pushes up new stems with alarming frequency. However, it also has sticky pollen which doesn’t tend to go airborne and wins favours with hay fever sufferers such as myself.

The aerial parts of the plant are all edible and nutritious. The flowers make a colourful addition to salads, whilst both the flowers and leaves can be used to make rather bitter tasting tea.

The Latin name Solidago means to make whole. This wonderful healing herb can be used a poultice for wounds and burns and its antimicrobial and expectorant action makes it good for sore throats and coughs.

I use this herb principally to treat urinary tract infections. It has a soothing action and is gently astringent to tighten and tone the urinary tract. It is also antiseptic and a diuretic to encourage the flushing out of any infection present.