The Q&A Archives: Plants For People With Allergies

Question: What outside plants are good for people with asthma and allergies against odors?

Answer: It's really impossible to provide a list of plants since different people will be differently affected by the same plants. What bothers one may not bother another. Also, over time, people can develop an allergy to a plant if they are repeated exposed to it. As a general guideline, plants that are wind pollinated are more troublesome. Because pollination is more up to chance, they they produce alot more pollen, the grains are smaller so the wind can carry it further, it is in the air, and thus more easily breathed in. Wind pollinated plants usually have non-descript flowers, such as the long slender catkins that many trees have. Showy, colorful flowers are usually insect-pollinated and tend to be less troublesome. The pollen grains are larger, stickier (so they'll stick to insects as they move from one plant to another) and not as airborne since the insects are carrying them, thus they are less likely to be inhaled. There's a new book called Allergy-Free Gardening by Thomas Leo Ogren that rates plants by their allergy potential. It's a good place to start. ISBN 1-58008-166-5

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