Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Another Plant Pest (Gesundheit!)

Many people are allergic to Ragweed. This plant is Pig Weed, and it also makes people sneeze. According to allergyescape.com, Pig Weed is one of the top producers of allergy-causing pollen in our part of the world. Pig Weed is also toxic to animals, but I have never seen a dog take interest in it. Pigs eat it though, and that must be how it got its name. (I saw a nasty photo of a shiny, disfigured, and mottled pig's liver. Ugh. Now I don't need breakfast.) 

As usual, I found this plant on the less travelled and less-often mowed southeast strip. If the mowers come through regularly this summer, the plant ought not to cause any trouble in the bigger fields. Of course, there are so many allergens in the Austin air, molds not the least of them, we may not even notice the Pig Weed.  

A quick survey of a site called pollenlibrary.com tells us that there are more than a dozen kinds of Pigweed, and that the plant is a Central Texas native. Also, it can grow up to 28 feet tall! Some of the Pig Weeds have lovely names, such as Love-Lies-Bleeding, Careless weed, Rough-Fruit, and Tumbleweed. Even the plant's family name sounds like a character from Shakespeare: Amaranth. (According to my wildflower handbook, only one member of the Amaranth family qualifies as a wildflower rather than a weed. It is the Slender Snakecotton—another nice name—but it only grows in West Texas. Sorry.) 

See you round the D.P.

1 comment:

  1. I don't think I've ever seen that plant. Joey has been sneezing enormously lately, and usually on the back of my knees (um, thanks). I'm blaming the pigweed.

    I discovered a melon about the size of tennis ball growing on a vine at the DP. It looks like a watermelon. Remind me to show you.


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