Sunday, October 25, 2009

"Rag Time Weed"

Q. What is Ragweed?

A. As the distant sneezes and coughs come from around the corner, many are starting to take cover having their hand sanitizer and tissues, maybe even face masks ready for action.
There has been a lot of panic going along with the swine flu but some may not realize it could just be a regular seasonal allergy.
There is one plant, however, that is severely associated with allergies due to its pollen. This plants name is Ragweed. You can see this plant in many areas along the road, river banks, sandy soils, sunny grassy plains, and basically anything that is dry.
Ragweed's are also called ambrosia, bitterweeds or even bloodweeds. They are "invasive weeds" meaning, very hard to get rid of once they are in a spot. This is ironic because their scientific name is Asteraceae, which is part of the sunflower family. Ambrosia on the other hand is the Ancient Greek term for perfumed nourishment of the gods, odd seeing how they or the cause of sever allergies to those unfortunate souls just like I am.
They occur in the Northern Hemisphere and also in South America, and there are actually 41 different species of Ragweed worldwide.
Some of these Ragweeds are flowers and plants we see daily such as annuals, perennials, shrubs and subshrubs. They have erect hispid stems that grow in large clumps to a height of around 75-90 cm.
These plants are able to produce a billion grains of pollen over one season. It is also considered to be the greatest cause of hay fever in North America and also considered the worst allergen of all pollens. They usually bloom in early July, and stay until the colder months. It is a wind pollinated plant, meaning airborne pollination.
Many will say that it is impossible to remove ragweed from any are due too its high production in seeds, and of course the pollen. So for now the best thing to do is stock up on those allergy medications and tissues and wait for the snow to fall.


  1. Amanda, how or why does ragweed trigger allergies?

  2. It triggers allergies because of the pollen it contains. I believe I talked about that in my blog. "There is one plant, however, that is severely associated with allergies due to its pollen."