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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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Wednesday - May 16, 2012

From: Sacramento, CA
Region: California
Topic: Invasive Plants, Problem Plants, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Eliminating ragweed in Sacramento CA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Rag weed. How to be rid of it! My wife and lots of others that live in this part of Sacramento suffer greatly.

ANSWER:

If we had the final answer to that one, we would not be volunteering at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center; we would be making a zillion dollars selling the "cure" to everyone allergic to ragweed, which is virtually everyone. Then, we would donate a lot of money to the Wildflower Center. Alas, it is not to be.

Sadly, Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Annual ragweed) is native to all over North America, so it doesn't seem there is anywhere to hide. This article on Common Ragweed from Illinois Wildflowers seems to say it all. You can follow the plant link to our webpage on the plant to learn when it blooms and how it spreads and pollinates. It is, obviously, the pollen that causes all the problems.

Since it is absolutely necessary that you breathe, we recommend that you seek medical help in treating the symptoms, as there is no way to keep the stuff out of the air. And avoid long walks on the prairie, that's just asking for it. There are antihistamines that should at least help to alleviate the symptoms, but that's about all we have to offer.

Pictures of Ambrosia artemisiifolia (Annual ragweed)

 

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