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

Male or female Jatropha curcas from Brownsville TX
August 16, 2012 - How do know the sex of a young Jatropha C. plant? how many weeks before you can tell a boy/girl plant ?
view the full question and answer

Identification of a plant with winged stems in Texas
July 08, 2013 - Dear Mr. Smarty Pants, We live in Denton Texas & our backyard is being taken over by a very woody type weed or bush. The most distinguishing characteristic is that long thin vertical ridges or fins...
view the full question and answer

Why is my Texas mountain laurel growing so slowly?
July 22, 2015 - I have a Mountain Laurel, Anacacho Orchid Tree and Desert Willow on the northern side of our yard - all three get full sun most of the day. The Mountain Laurel is closer to the east side. The other...
view the full question and answer

Invasive native blackeyed susans from Warren OH
August 07, 2013 - In our demo garden we master gardeners in NE Ohio have been unable to get rid of black-eyed susans which have, like the other person, prevented or "killed" the other perennial plants. They are spre...
view the full question and answer

Problem with Chinese Pistache tree
September 01, 2014 - We have a gorgeous Chinese Pistache in our yard, about 25 feet tall. We bought it for its gorgeous fall color. The problem is that it has never turned color for us. All the other pistaches in the neig...
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