Learn more about pollen - Oak

Oaks (Species, Quercus sp.; Family, Fagaceae)

Oaks occur naturally in the northern hemisphere temperate zones and at higher altitudes in the subtropics. Most are trees, some of which are very large and are deciduous and semi-deciduous. The planting of oaks in Australia began in the first half of the 19th century when European settlers imported species from their former homelands. There are many different species planted in gardens and parklands in and around Canberra.They are wind-pollinated and produce large amounts of pollen during September to October.

Distribution of Oaks (Atlas of Living Australia occurrence map)



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Learn more about pollen - Alder

Alder tree (Species, Alnus sp.; Family, Betulaceae)

Alder tree and shrubs are deciduous and mostly native to north temperate locations with cool, moist soil. They are part of the Betulaceae family that also includes: birch, hornbeam, hop-hornbeam, and hazel trees. Alder trees, like birch trees, are used for landscaping and are commonly found in and around Canberra gardens, parks and streets

Since alder trees are in the same family as birch trees they are very similar. Like birch tree pollen, alder tree pollen is derived from tightly bunched flowers, called catkins, that produce large amounts of pollen during August to October. Alder tree pollen is capable of causing hay fever and bronchial asthma.

Distribution of Alder tree (Atlas of Living Australia occurrence map)


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Canberra grass pollen building at record levels - "Godzilla Hay Fever" on it's way?

Canberra trending towards a "Godzilla" Hay Fever season!

The levels of grass pollen in Canberras atmosphere have been building over the last 3 weeks and they are now at record levels compared to previous years (2007-2009 and 2014). The cummulative grass pollen concentration has been steadily increasing and is now at least 2x above what was recorded last year. It is also only a week before the aninversary of the record day for emergency addmisions for chronic asthma at Canberra Hospital on the 27th October 2014. This day coincided with high grass pollen counts, a thunderstorm and a weekend (a Sunday when many people were outside). This combination of circumstances led to a record number of people presenting to th emergency department in one day all with serious asthma-related symptoms.

This years grass pollen count is trending towards much greater levels than previous recorded and, based on our previous records, we are rapidly approaching the point when there will be an accelerated production of grass pollen in the ACT and surround regions. The graph below depicts these changes in accumulation of grass pollen over previous pollen seasons. Its clearly shows that by late October and through November we should expect an accelaration in grass pollen production, due to widespread flowering and pollen production of key allergic rhinitis-related grasses like Rye Grass.

The data suggests that we should be preparing for a singificant rise in grass pollen over the next few days and if this rise coincides with thunderstorms, strong northwesterly winds and a weekend, then those who suffer from hay fever should prepare for "Godzilla-like" Hay Fever conditions. People who suffer from asthma-related conditions should take precautions, such as stay inside and avoid exposure to extreme levels of grass pollen.

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