Aug 15 2009
Ragweed season officially begins today.
Mercifully I have never been allergic to ragweed but I’ve had my share of outdoor allergies. I know the agony of a sneezy, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes and the scratchy throat that itches all the way back into your ears. Misery! Once the itchy reaction starts it’s hard to stop.
Eventually, through sneezy experimentation I figured out what caused my allergies – hay, cut grass, marigolds, cut ground ivy, privet flowers, chrysanthemums - and I learned not to sniff them deeply. I’m helped by living in the city where there aren’t extensive lawns. And no, you can’t tell me that cut grass smells sweet. It smells like hayfever.
So ragweed sufferers, know thine enemy. The leaves are dark green and deeply cut. The flower is a pale green-yellow spike that it doesn’t look much like a flower at all. Common ragweed doesn’t need to be beautiful. It has no interest in attracting insects. It’s pollinated by the wind and that’s why it’s so good at making you sneeze. It produces a ton of pollen. To add insult to injury, its Latin name is Ambrosia artemisiifolia. Ambrosia!
Good luck … and take an antihistamine before you go outdoors.
(photos by Chuck Tague)