Plants That Cause Sneezes and Sniffles

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Allergy symptoms are a sure sign that spring has arrived and most allergies this time of year are attributed to the transfer of pollen or dust-like grains that contain the male reproductive cells of flowering plants.

Plants are pollinated either by birds and insects or by the wind. Wind-pollinated plants cause the most allergy problems. They can be identified by their small, inconspicuous flowers and are typically non-native plants. Because wind pollination is chancy, the plants require an immense amount of pollen.

The kinds of trees pollinated by wind include fruitless mulberries, olives, ash, privets, cottonwoods and mesquite varieties. Shrubs include pampas grass, fountain grass, ragweed, Russian thistle, pigweed, saltbush rabbit brush and bursage. Ground covers are the common Bermuda and Johnson grass.

Insect-or bird-pollinated plants also cause sneezing and sniffling, but are identified by their showy, colorful, nectar-producing, fragrant flowers that attract the pollinator to the plant. They do not produce a lot of pollen and have sticky pollen that is transferred from flower to flower by the birds and bees.

Insect-or bird-pollinated plants include Palo Verde, sweet acacia, Ironwoods, lysiloma, desert willow, citrus and palms. The shrubs include cactus, agaves, aloes, yucca, red yucca, Texas rangers, cassias and fairy dusters. Ground covers include lantanas, hybrid Bermudas, gazanias, verbenas and primroses. Vines include cat’s claw, bougainvillea and coral vine.