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11 Sep 2019

Don't blame flowers for your hay fever

With the arrival of spring, around three million Australians (15% of the population) will start to experience the dreaded hay fever symptoms; itchy watery eyes, runny noses and itchy throat. And the one thing people blame the most – pollen from flowering plants.

Fact is most pollens, especially from flowering plants, are too heavy to float in the air.

Pollen on flowering plants usually travel no more than a few inches by wind and these plants rely on butterflies, bees and other pollinators to move their pollen from plant to plant.
The true cause of our allergies is mostly from wind pollinated grasses and trees, and the one that may be causing your head to feel like it is going to explode, may be thousands of kilometres away from your home. 

Jimmy Turner, Director of Horticulture
Jimmy Turner, Director of Horticulture for Botanic Gardens & Centennial Parklands

It’s easy to blame flowers because you’ve most likely never noticed ryegrass, couch or other grasses in bloom. The large tree culprits you need to be aware of as well include the London plane, oak, pines and she oaks.
Studies show that most hay fever is caused by mould, dust and especially pollen from grass and trees, because these particles are light and easily blown by the wind in large quantities.
So the fact is your garden shouldn’t have to suffer along with your allergies.

This time of year, allergy sufferers walk outside, sneeze and then then look for the nearest flowering plant to blame. Just because your neighbours Wattle is in bloom doesn’t make it the evil culprit.
Jimmy Turner, Director of Horticulture

Busting hay fever myths

Our Director of Horticulture, Jimmy Turner, is an allergy sufferer himself and knows how debilitating hay fever can be. He wants to set the record straight and combat the annual fake news on flowers and share facts about spring allergies.

He recently shared his top tips and low-allergen plants to grow at home if you suffer from hay fever or allergies with Channel Nine's Today Show.


Find out more

Jimmy’s horticulture team are looking forward to showing off their three botanic garden spring displays over the season and will be happy to explain to any sneezing visitors that they should probably direct their pollen frustrations elsewhere.
Find out what is flowering and what you can see at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan and Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah here.

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