Grass pollen, such a small couple of words but such a big impact on many people.
I think many think that hay fever; or Allergic Rhinitis as its also known; has something to do with all pollen, maybe one of the reasons people think of honey as a remedy. The truth is, it’s really down to just grass and tree pollen. Some suffer from an allergy of grass pollen and others with tree pollen.
The percentages say that most hay fever suffers are allergic to grass pollen, with around 25% of hay fever sufferers are allergic to birch trees, including alder and hazel, whose main pollen season is between April and May; so in this post I wanted to examine and learn more about how grass pollen spreads and what season of the year it happens.
Let’s talk grass pollen
Firstly, what is grass pollen? Grass pollen, just like other plants, are tiny grains that are released from the plant (in this case grass) and is released to fertilise plants of the same species – again, in this case, grass.
What are the typical pollens that cause allergies?
The most common types of grasses that cause allergies are:
- Sweet Vernal
When is it grass pollen season
Grass pollen season is around late Spring and Early Summer in the US. Here in the UK grass pollen season (which actually has two peaks) typically lasts from mid-May until July. Although depending on where you live in the UK, the hay fever season will start at different times.
For example, there’s a later start and shorter season in the north of the UK, where generally there is less pollen. Urban areas have lower counts than the countryside, and places inland have higher counts than around the coast.
There are also loads of factors that change the start date of the pollen season. Low temperatures in winter will keep plants and trees dormant for longer into the new year. Essentially, the lower the temperature the less pollen is produced, but, this can change if soil and air temperatures in spring are higher than normal. – Met Office – UK
How does grass pollenate
We’ve talked a little about what grass pollen is and the season that the pollen is produced, but how does grass pollenate? What happens to get that pollen into your system?
Flower of many plants we know is pollinated by insects such as bees and butterflies flying from plant to plant with pollen stuck on them. However, how does this happen with grass?
Grasses are wind-pollinated, and a single flower head of an average grass can produce ten million pollen grains. This explains how the pollen is in the air for us to breath in through our mouth and nose, and how it gets into our eyes.
Wind–pollinated plants usually grow closely together, to increase the likelihood of pollination, which can also explain why some areas have higher pollen counts than others.
So, what does this mean
I believed I knew the answers to my question before I started this post. Writing this post really added a little more depth to my thought. I already believed that grass pollen must have been in the wind/air for us to breath in.
What I have taken away from this is an understanding of how some areas are higher in grass pollen than others (Wind–pollinated plants usually grow closely together) as well as giving me the justification to the reason why I moved to the coast – better air and less pollen.
I really hope this post has given some of you more of an insight into grass pollen and how it affects us sufferers of hay fever. Please leave any comments below and any suggestions on how to help are also always welcome.