En EspaŅol

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

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

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

Giant Thistle-Like Plant from Elgin, TX
June 01, 2014 - I have a giant thistle like plant in my field we have been unable to identify. It looks like a milk thistle but it is short..only about a foot tall..stocky...and the flowers are giant..about 6 to 8 i...
view the full question and answer

Plants to grow in shady area near a pecan tree in Maryland
March 26, 2013 - I live on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. I have planted only natives in my front lawn. My backyard, which sports a pecan tree, fir, fig tree, and others I can't identify is dirt, just dirt. I have...
view the full question and answer

Seed pod of Proboscidea louisianica (Deveil's claw) in New Mexico
August 30, 2014 - I found the most amazing seed pods of the devil's claw right here in Albuquerque. I thought it was a wood skeleton of a pterodactyl (flying dinosaur, I believe), but heard it's a devil's claw. Ok...
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 | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center