Wattles get a bad rap! Because many people accuse Wattles of causing Hay Fever and Asthma. This is unfair as their bright yellow flowers, perfume, and a tree in full bloom, occur when a lot of people get Hay Fever or Asthma, and thus they blame Wattle for causing the problem. It is probably not the wattle causing the hay fever – though a few people do get Hay Fever from Wattles as any one person can be affected by any one substance.
There is a Wattle (Acacia.sp) that flowers in any one month but people do not get Hay Fever in those other months so in almost all cases they do not get it from a Wattle.
A few examples of Wattles that flower in other months are:
- Mulga (Acacia aneura) in January and December
- Brown Salwood (A. Aulacocarpa) in February to May
- A Mulga (A.adsurgens) in March and April
- Ear-Pod Wattle (A.auriculiformis)in April to August
- Marblewood (A.bakeri) in July to September
- Wyalong Wattle (A.cardiophylla)in October
- Two-veined Hickory(A.binervata)in November
Green Couch (Cynodon dactylon) on the other hand is by far the more likely cause of Hay Fever. Its pollen is neither seen nor smelt but is one of the worst and most widespread causes of Hay Fever and Asthma in the whole world.
The way to avoid or at least reduce the frequency of causing Hay Fever, is to mow early in the morning when the dew is still on the grass. Cover your nose and mouth with a cotton mask, or better still get someone else to mow your lawn and you go out while they do the mowing for you.
Mould Spores are another common cause of Hay Fever in a warm and wet Spring especially a Wet Summer & Dry Winter such as in Queensland and New South Wales. These mould spores will be anywhere in or out of the house, hence more difficult to control. Avoidance is probably better by having bare floors (ie no carpets) and open gardens that dry out their foliage before nightfall.
Perfumes Flowers with a very strong perfume can also cause Hay Fever. I find that the jonquil like flower variety called Erlicheer gives me a severe headache if they are in or just outside the house. I was a commercial Cut Flower Grower and grew these flowers as the demand for them was high, but I did not enjoy the headaches.
To avoid high pollen producing plants use plants that are bird or insect pollinated. eg most Australian plants.
Thunderstorms also commonly cause Asthma as the pollen, moisture and strong winds explode the pollen grains into smaller particles that are much easier to inhaled deep into the lungs.
Pets are the second commonest cause of Asthma (viruses are the main one) with cat dander the worst offender. The skin cells are often still lurking in a house for a few months after the cat has gone so is still causing the problem. Vacuum your carpets regularly if you have pets.
Today’s Did You Know…?
Most people think that all plants have round stems. But some plants have square stems and others have a triangle stem.
Square stemmed plants are really quite common. Most mint plants eg spearmint (the common mint grown in most gardens) has a square stem and alternative placed leaves. Go into your garden and see if you can feel the square mint stems.
Other common square stemmed plants are Statice (Limonium volgare), Origano, Coleus, Verbena and Sweet Pea.
Triangular stems are not as common but you can still find some easily. Nut Grass has a Triangular stem and is in fact a sedge NOT a grass as it has a stem filled with white pith (like a Pith hat) that helps insulate the plant.