It’s scary but true.
As November looms, there’s still enough sun in the forecast to mean that not everyone in Texas is enjoying the outdoors. Seasonal allergies are running rampant all over the state with the blossoming of fall plants. You commonly hear Texans talk about “cedar fever” trees that can disrupt allergies, but make sure that you know these additional six plants to be aware of as the seasons change.
This is by far one of the worst culprits for fall allergies in Texas. Ragweed is a large green plant that has towers of blossoms on top of light green stems. It begins to bloom in mid-August and will continue to do so up until the first frost—making for a long blooming season in Texas as our first frost typically arrives late. While in bloom, each ragweed plant can produce up to 1 billion pollen grains; and wind can move the pollen up into the atmosphere, causing allergies for those who can’t even see any ragweed in sight.
2. Cedar Elm Tree
As a late summer and early fall bloomer, cedar elms can cause some serious fall allergies. You’ll be able to tell cedar elms as they produce small leaves and small clusters of flowers (and pollen) in August and September. Cedar elms are planted a lot in Texas due to their amazing shade qualities and resistance to drought, making it tough for those with seasonal allergies as the trees seem to be everywhere.
3. Lamb’s Quarters
This weed grows tall at first, some plants can grow up to 9 feet, but then the plant fans due to the weight of the many blossoms it produces. Diamond-shaped leaves are seen along the bottom of lamb’s quarters while broad waxy leaves adorn the top of the plant. The small flowers that this plant produces line the top of the stems and grow upward in small clusters. Lamb’s quarters is responsible for a lot of crop loss as well as earning a reputation as one of the most competitive weeds in the state.
4. Russian Thistle
Intriguingly named, this bushy weed grows in a mound shape and can be anywhere from 6”-36” tall. The stems of Russian thistle are small and can be either purple or red in color as well as being striped. The weed is green overall, including the small flowers at the top of the stems, and can be easily mistaken as a shrub or young bush. The plant reproduces from seed and one plant can produce as much as 250,000 seeds each year. The weed is quick to germinate and spread making it commonly seen in dry areas of Texas.
5. Curly Dock
This perennial broadleaf is a common weed that you may remember picking as a kid. It grows in wet areas and forms a circled rosette in the middle of the weed. Mature curly dock can grow up to 5’ tall and produces pollen from green clusters of dense flowers. Curly dock blooms in late summer and the weed’s pollen can be a considerable factor in fall allergies.
This Texas weed has been popping up among row crops and can be resistant to herbicide. Pigweed has dark green leaves that are pointed at the end. The flowers that form at the top of the plant grow along a long stem in tight clusters. Each pigweed plant can produce more than 100,000 seeds, making it a tricky one to avoid fall. Interestingly, although pigweed is commonly seen as an irritant in the United States, it is purposely grown in many gardens around the world and many varieties are quite nutritious.
Fall allergies can affect many Texans during this time of year, especially if they moved to the area within the last few years. Make sure to keep an eye out for these plants in your yard and neighborhood in order to steer clear from their pollen. Understand that ridding your yard of the pollen generating weeds may help some, but much of the pollen that causes seasonal allergies is transported by the wind from other areas. If you suffer from seasonal allergies, or know someone who does, make sure to know the six plants to be aware of as the seasons change.