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DOI: 10.31862/2500-2961-2022-12-2-203-219

A paradigm shift in the evaluation of the North American species of Solidago (ornamental plants – noxious invasive weeds – medicinal plants)

Since the first appearance of the North American species of Goldenrods = Solidago L.: S. canadensis L., S. gigantea Ait and S. graminifolia (L.) Salisb. in the Old World, judgement on the results of intentional introduction of these three species has repeatedly changed. Primarily they were cultivated as ornamental plants and were highly valued for their ease of cultivation and abundant flowering in the fall. They were introduced to England as early as 1645, and a century later they appeared on the continent: Solidago canadensis – about 1735, S. gigantea and S. graminifolia – about 1758. However, 100 years later, goldenrods “escaped” from the culture, the process of naturalization began, and a century later, at the end of the XX century, their secondary distribution range already covered all regions of Eurasia. The judgement on the results of intentional introduction of goldenrod plants had changed completely: S. canadensis and S. gigantea were recognized as dangerous invasive species, causing ecological and economic damage both in Europe and in Russia. At present, the judgement has changed once again: when analyzing the composition of secondary metabolites in species of the genus Solidago, compounds with a wide range of pharmacological activity were isolated, which allows us to consider these species as promising medicinal plant materials. In addition, goldenrods are valued by bee-masters for their ability to stably produce pollen and nectar in late fall, which allows the bee colonies to be prepared for winter. Thus, the paradigm of assessing the results of intentional introduction of Solidago species has changed at least three times: ornamental plants → aggressive invasive weeds → resource species.

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