Thursday, October 10, 2013

Thursday's Weed

The charger for my scooter has been replaced and I can now charge up the batteries and get out of the house.  You have no idea how liberating that is!  I have felt like a prisoner for about 3 weeks and I had no way of taking more photos of wildflowers to post on Wednesdays.

But yesterday my batteries were fully charged and I went to the library.  As I drove around my neighbourhood I noticed the growth of a weed that everybody hates.  It's called Ragweed.

This is not a wildflower.  It's a full-out noxious weed!  But it does have flowers and that's where the problem starts.  This plant is the bane of allergy sufferers everywhere.

Although it is a plant that originally grew in rural areas, it has adapted itself and now grows just about everywhere.  Here is some that is growing in a crack along the side of the road, between the pavement and the curb.

The problem with Ragweed is the pollen.  Ragweed plants can produce up to a billion pollen grains per plant. This pollen is very small and light-weight and can travel for up to 400 km, carried by the wind.  It causes runny noses and watery eyes for many sufferers. Male and female flowers are borne on each plant, but it is the male flowers that produce the pollen.

It always irritates me when pictures of other wildflowers, such as Goldenrod or Dandelions, accompany articles relating to hay fever.  Those plants don't cause hay fever.  You, see, it is the colour of the flowers that gives them away.  Ragweed has green flowers and the others have coloured flowers.  It is only the green flowering plants that produce pollen light enough to float through the air.  The pollen grains of Goldenrod and Dandelions are large and heavy and depend on bees and other insects to pollinate them.  Ragweed relies only on the wind to blow its pollen around to other plants.  So when you see a wonderful field of yellow Goldenrod or the first golden globes of Dandelion-colour in spring, don't stay away from them.  They cannot hurt you.  They are the 'good' plants.

Here is some Ragweed growing beside the bus stop on Lawrence Ave. E.

Ragweed belongs to the Asteraceae family, like Sunflowers and Asters.  The thing that makes me cringe is that they are in the Genus, Ambrosia.  That makes me think of wonderful foods from the gods.  But I think it only refers to this plant's tenacity to thrive just about everywhere. This definitely is a noxious weed!  If you have it in your garden or see it growing along the side of the road beside your boulevard, pull it out!  Other than providing food for a few caterpillars, this plant does nothing for the beauty of our planet.  At least not by my standards.  I don't suffer from allergies, but maybe I am just a little bit biased.

1 comment:

Wacky Woman said...

I've heard about this plant forever; but, I not sure I have ever seen it.