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by Jacob Crider
Within the shaded and dense woodlands of the Outer Bluegrass grows the striking Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). Widespread throughout the Eastern U.S, this member of the Buttercup family blooms in the early spring, and fruits in mid-late summer.

The flowers are diminutive, white, and attract small pollinators to their delicate pollen. The fruits in summer are bright red and resemble a fresh raspberry. The fleshy fruits are an important food for wildlife but are poisonous to humans. The roots, however, have been used medicinally by indigenous peoples, European settlers, and is still used today. It is used topically for skin irritation, and inflammation, immune-boosting, and for many other conditions. Goldenseal, however, is a vulnerable plant in many states, and grows and spreads slowly. It is best to acquire Goldenseal that has been sustainably harvested and not to take it from the wild.


Goldenseal prefers moist shady woodlands, predominantly hosting Tulip Poplar, Sugar Maple, and Beech. At CMNP, these wildflowers can be seen in the woodland garden along with a few locations within the woodlands of the preserve. Keep your eyes out for this awesome forest denizen next time you are out hiking this summer!

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