Saturday, September 08, 2007

Pollen is in the air

Spring is a time of renewal and , as such, blooms are out in profusion at the moment with Robbo being no exception.

The air is heavy with pollen, as anyone with hay fever would agree.

Although we may feel that the vast number of flowers, such as this one on the left, or various grasses were responsible for this, it is in fact an older style of flowering plant that releases much of the pollen in the Robbo area.

Pictured below could arguably be one of the earliest flower forms that produces pollen, and vast amounts of it at that.

Various species of pine were among the first to use airborne dispersal, and do it in abundance, as the below closeup shows. This tactic has seen this group of plants survive, some with little change, over millions of years.

the clouds of pollen these plants release are spectacular to watch and , if necessary, take an antihistamine. Its worth it.


  1. Hi David

    Have you been suffering? Fortunately I seldom am worried by pollen dust, but I know some people are.

    I have noticed rings of pollen on pools of rain water, in pot-holes, and on driveways and footpaths, in the last few days. It certainly is time for Chemist shops to sell antihistamines.

    Nice photos, by the way, and good explanation.

    Pine trees, being wind pollinated, have very fine pollen which carries on the slightest breeze. The "flowering plants" you describe tend to have larger grains of pollen, as they rely on bees and birds to carry the pollen from flower to flower.

    Wind pollination is hugely "wasteful" because it is literally a "hit or miss" process. The statistical probabilities of a single grain of pollen landing on a receptive female cone are astronomically small. And yet it does happen - as the number of mature pine cones attests. So the numbers of pollen grains produced by a single tree must be truly vast.


  2. Hi Denis,
    Strangely enough some pollen affects me and some does not. Luckily Pine pollen is not amongst the one or two that do.
    I find it fascinating that a flower is only a modified leaf and wonder as to what drove this modification...Keeping in mind that the insects that the flowers rely on for polination had been around may hundreds of millions of years before the first flowers did appear.
    Thanks again for the interest in my humble page.



  3. hi David,

    the first time I saw pine trees emitting clouds of pollen, I was amazed. I've only witnessed this event a few times because it is something that can not be planned for - just being in the right place at the right time.

    I enjoyed your excellent photos and your timely reminder of this springtime spectacle.


  4. hi Gaye,
    I was lucky enough to be around for a pollen dispersal this year, though could get no good photos....though its in the "to get" list for next year.
    Thanks again,


  5. What a beautiful macro photo. I love pine trees and your photo shows their beauty!!


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