Some pollination misconceptions

William E. Williams WEWilliams at
Tue Feb 3 20:59:13 EST 2004

At 12:19 AM +0000 2/4/04, David R. Hershey wrote:
>Given the recent discussion of pollination, here's a list of some
>misconceptions on the topic.


>4. Despite what is often shown in commercials for allergy medicines,
>large, colorful flowers rarely cause pollen allergies or hayfever
>because their pollen is sticky for animal pollination. Wind-pollinated
>flowers that cause hayfever include certain grasses, certain deciduous
>trees, certain pines and certain others such as ragweeds, pigweeds and
>Plantago spp.

Have you got some references for allergenic pine pollen? I've been 
telling my students all these years that the yellow scum that coats 
their cars, the surfaces of our campus ponds, and practically 
everything else during pine pollen-release season is NOT the same 
thing that's causing them to sneeze. (I tell them it's probably 
grasses, because that's sure as Hell what makes ME sneeze in the 
spring!) I'd always heard (though I can't quote a source) that pine 
pollen was hardly ever allergenic, and if I'm going to have to eat my 
words I'd like to find a reference. Of course *somebody* is allergic 
to practically anything you can name -- even starch according to some 
of my acquaintances, though how Darwin permitted this to happen is 
beyond me...

William E. Williams <MailTo:WEWilliams at>
Biology Department
Saint Mary's College of Maryland
18952 E Fisher Road
Saint Marys City, MD 20686-3001
Voice: (240)895-4365
FAX:   (240)895-4996


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