En Español

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.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

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.

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

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!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Tuesday - June 19, 2012

From: Austin, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Problem Plants
Title: Source of Allergies in Austin, TX
Answered by: Joe Marcus

QUESTION:

Hi, Mr. Smarty Plants. I live in Northwest Austin and I've been suffering from allergies since moving to Austin. The allergies seem to occur at least once a year for at least a month or two. Beginning today (June 18), I've definitely noticed my sinuses reacting. I've been tested for allergic reactions to the usual suspects (both blood and skin tests), and no major allergies were discovered. Do you have an idea what might be causing the reaction?

ANSWER:

We feel your pain ... and your achiness ... and your itching and watering eyes ... and your stuffy and painful sinuses! 

Along with all the joys of living in Austin, Texas comes the misery of our multitudinous airborne allergens.  "Cedar Fever" (caused by pollen from the native tree, Ashe Juniper, Juniperus ashei) gets most of the press, but for some reason, other plant pollens as well as the spores of various mold species seem to be especially troublesome in our area.

Unfortunately, you must have misdirected your question to me instead of Dr. Smarty Plants MD since your question is really a medical one and is thus outside my area of expertise or competence.  I will say, however, that I have known folks who had experiences similar to yours and just kept getting tested (sometimes by different medical doctors) until they finally DID find the cause of their suffering and a therapy to relieve it.

Good luck!

 

From the Image Gallery


Ashe juniper
Juniperus ashei

More Problem Plants Questions

Aggressive Frogfruit
September 17, 2009 - I have frogfruit voluntarily growing in my flower beds. I had intended to use it as a ground cover but am concerned that it is taking over. Will it kill (smother) my flowers that I have planted for bu...
view the full question and answer

Identity of and how to get rid of plant in planter in Indiana
May 17, 2013 - We moved to Mooresville Ind. (Brooklyn area) 3 yrs ago. In one of the 12x12 planters out back, these one THINGS keep cutting back and spreading everywhere. They are tall, hollow stem, seems like ther...
view the full question and answer

Pruning Roughleaf dogwood
November 28, 2013 - We put 5 rough-leaf dogwoods along our side deck; having been told (by the local, natural plant seller) that they would reach a maximum height of 6 feet. They have grown taller than that (despite som...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating dogbane from transplanted milkweed in Franklin Lakes NJ
May 10, 2010 - We transplanted milkweed from the wild into our garden. Included in the clump of milkweed was dogbane. We weren't aware of how invasive dogbane is. We've has some success in digging it out but we'...
view the full question and answer

Invasive thistles in wildflower field from Dripping Springs TX
February 17, 2014 - How to get rid of "native" thistles.. I have a large natural field that used to grow a variety of wildflowers, but in 2011 and 2012 it was taken over by thistles. I'm sure they are "native" Texas...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center