I looked out the window the other night and I had to look twice. It looked as though it was snowing. I put on the porch light and sure enough, a fine shower of “something” was coming down at a steady pace and accumulating on the ground … except it wasn't white, it was yellow. It was a pollen blizzard.
In my sister's thickly wooded lot, in late May and early June each year, for a few weeks, the local pine trees shower everyone and everything with their pollen. It's a male thing … by the way. Pine cones are male and female. The males produce all the mess. The pollen produced by male cones is carried to female cones by the wind. This male sexual overture obviously works pretty well as pine fossil records have been documented from the Carboniferous period, about 300 million years ago. Like many wind pollinated species, these male pines produce large quantities of pollen in hopes that they'll be successful in meeting up with girl pines and making babies. I personally think these guys go a bit overboard considering the layer of pollen on the car, deck, windows and the yellow haze in the air.
I read that this pollen is actually not responsible for as many allergies as people think, but judging from my red eyes, runny nose and frequent mind-jarring sneezes, I'm thinking pine pollen might be more responsible than pine-lovers would like to admit.
Pine pollen powder has been used extensively in traditional cultures throughout Asia for centuries. It's revered as one of the top anti-aging herbs available. People go out and pay good money for it. Hmmm … perhaps they'd like some for free in my sister's backyard. Bring a broom and a shovel.
I wrote this blog a week or so ago and didn't post it and the pollen in the air has subsided. In its place, tiny, tiny pine pollen seeds by the thousands. Pine needles and sap will come next. There is no respite.