The uglier the plant or flower, the more allergy-inducing its pollens tends to be! What a lovely neat theory being propounded by Dr Robert Valet, assistant professor of Medicine and an allergist at Vanderbilt University – and reported in Science Daily.
Although it seems rather beastly to plants such as this broad-leafed plantain, he has a point. Colourful, highly scented flowers such as those below (how could I resist the opportunity to display a couple of my garden favourites) attract insects who collect the pollen on their bodies and transport it to other flowers where they deposit it. Flowers or plants that cannot attract those insects with their scents or their colours have to use the wind to disperse their pollen.
But for those humans who react to the pollen, this is BAD news as it means that, in season, the air is laden with sneeze-inducing pollens being blown from one plant (or grass or tree) to the next one with which it wishes to mate.
Not that Dr Valet is the only one to make this point. Our own Tom Ogren has made it a number of times in his books and in the gardening section of the FoodsMatter site. If you are interested in how to reduce the pollen producing potential of your own garden (you can do little about public spaces but you can about your own) check out our article about low- allergen gardening or any of Tom’s pieces.
Meanwhile, what insect with eyes in its head could resist some of these…..