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Due to the mild temperatures, this year's hay fever season starts a few weeks earlier than expected - namely now. Although most people are warned and expect from the end of January to March with Frühblüherpollen, it says this year very early: Red alert for allergy sufferers! Especially in the winter-mild regions of Germany you can already see the pollen-spreading flower kitten hanging on the plants.
Hay fever is one of the most common allergies in this country. Millions of people react to plant pollen, ie the pollen of trees, perennials, grasses and Co. with allergic reactions. Itching and watery eyes, a stuffy nose, coughing and sneezing attacks are the most common symptoms.
Allergy sufferers are already reacting to early flowering
Early flowering plants such as alder and hazel are already triggering hay fever as soon as the new year has begun. The inflorescences, more specifically the male catkins of hazel or hazelnut (Corylus avellana), already show up on the shrubs and spread their pollen. Whole clouds of pale yellow seeds are carried by the wind through the air. Among the alders, the black alder (Alnus glutinosa) is especially allergenic. Like the hazel, it belongs to the family of the birch family (Betulaceae) and forms very similar inflorescences in the form of "yellow sausages".
The inflorescences of hazel are very similar to those of alder and spread in January large amounts of pollen
Guilt is wind pollination
Alder and hazel are among the most critical wind allergy sufferers, known in the jargon as anemogamy or anemophily. Their pollen is carried by the wind for miles to fertilize the female flowers of other alders and hazel bushes. Since the success of this form of cross-pollination is very much a matter of chance, the two species of tree produce a particularly large amount of pollen, in order to increase the chances of fertilization. The kitties of a full-grown hazel shrub alone make up about 200 million pollen grains.
The fact that the plants have started to bloom so early does not necessarily mean that the flowering will last for a very long time and those affected will have to struggle with their hay fever until March. If the winter still sets in, which can not be ruled out at this time of year, the flowering time could even be shorter. So there is at least a little hope that you can breathe again soon!