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
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
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

Skin allergies; is Juniper the culprit in Simi Valley, CA?
July 21, 2012 - My husband and I have had terrible skin allergy problems this spring (for me it's been 3 years) and think it may be the juniper bushes outside our bedroom and kitchen windows. Is there a fast growin...
view the full question and answer

Controlling sedge in vegetable garden in Mississippi
August 03, 2008 - I have a veg. garden surrounded by Purple Sedge. The nut grass has been contained/eliminated by replacing all dirt 1' down. Now the surrounding sedge is beginning to creep inward infesting the gard...
view the full question and answer

Controlling Cnidoscolus texanus (Texas bullnettle)
July 18, 2013 - Hello,I need your help to control some nasty weeds in my yard/pasture. I am an old timer and do not have a picture to include—haven't figured out that part of the camera/phone yet. This weed is a pri...
view the full question and answer

Eliminating non-native Asian Jasmine in Austin
December 02, 2010 - I have a large bed in front of the house full of jasmine that was planted by the builder 25 years ago. What suggestions do you have to eliminate it and prepare the bed to plant native flowers and pl...
view the full question and answer

Update on controlling live oak suckers with newspapers, cardboard and mulch
September 12, 2014 - Can we get an update on the march 2011 topic of live oak suckers? I am wondering if the newspaper/cardboard/mulch layers continued to take care of the problem. Thanks!
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP
© 2014 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center