Allergic to Flowering Trees?

Maple flowers and crabapple buds

For decades, I would see flowering trees–like the purple leaf plum from Monday’s post or my own flowering cherry–in bloom. These would coincide with the onset of my own allergy symptoms and I concluded “aha! I am allergic to flowering trees.”

So when my allergy symptoms got bad enough for me to see an allergist and he asked what I thought I was allergic to, one of the things I mentioned was trees. As it turns out, I was correct. But it wasn’t really the pretty flowering trees that I am allergic to, just like people with fall allergies really aren’t allergic to goldenrod.

It’s pretty simple really. Different plants us different means of pollination. Generally, the colorful ones use that color to attract their pollinators, which means that they are not wind pollinated, they are insect pollinated. The pollen is generally too heavy to be a nuisance for many of us allergy sufferers.

Think for example of an asiatic lily or a tropical hibiscus. We have all probably gotten that heavy pollen on us at one point–sticky, messy, even clothing staining, but not generally allergy provoking.

Because allergies can be so problematic for many, there are even a couple of books and a web site devoted to rating plants based up their allergy provoking abilities. Thomas Leo Ogren is the pioneer of this idea and his books and web site are easily found via most search engines.

Not surprisingly, maples are not wonderful for allergy sufferers. But if you are wondering why you are suffering, maybe you need to look at different plants.

5 thoughts on “Allergic to Flowering Trees?

  1. The Chatsworth Lady April 23, 2021 / 8:00 pm

    I never knew that I am really REALLY allergic to oak pollen until I moved here to the Money Pit which had (when I bought it) more than a dozen oaks on a half acre. I had simply never lived in close proximity to a lot of oaks before. Unfortunately my next door neighbor has a half dozen huge ones on “my” side of his property but I can’t do anything about those. 😦 A book with fantastic information about (and allergen ratings for) tons of plants is The Allergy-Fighting Garden by Thomas Ogren. (btw, oak pollen is 8 on the 1-10 allergen scale; higher is more allergenic)

  2. tonytomeo April 24, 2021 / 2:30 am

    Exactly! It is not easy to convince people of this. Pines and grasses produce the worse of the pollen here. Oaks are bad too, but no so bad every year.

  3. gardendaze April 24, 2021 / 6:08 am

    Yes, I referenced Tom above. He now has 2 books and a website so that’s why I just referenced his name–to let people choose how they wanted to find him or use his resources.


  4. gardendaze April 24, 2021 / 6:12 am

    Yes, I know. These myths get started–sort of like the “poinsettias are poisonous ” thing, and then turning them around is almost impossible. These poor plants are like those everyone picks on in the plant world.


  5. Melanie October 26, 2022 / 4:31 pm

    Hi thanks for shariing this

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