Flowers Not Cause of Pollen Allergies?

There was an interesting letter to the editor in the June 10, 2008 edition of The Boston Globe, signed by Doug Brugge, an associate professor at Tufts University School of Medicine.

We quote some of it:

…I have long complained about the use of flowers in ads for allergy medications.

In fact, flowers, because they are primarily pollinated by insects and birds, produce large sticky pollen grains that rarely get airborne. Very few people ever get these pollens into their respiratory system or experience any symptoms because of exposure to flowers (reaction to flower fragrance might be a different matter, but would not be treated by antihistamines anyway).

Almost all pollen allergy is attributable to wind-pollinated plants that do not have flowers, such as trees, grasses, and ragweed….”

Note: The day we originally posted this snippet, we noticed clouds of “dust/pollen” just outside our window as breezes fanned the pine trees in our yard. Yellow pollen seemed to cover everything in sight.