Acacia allergy- a quick guide w/ photos.


green compound leaves and yellow inflorescence of acacia with blue sky in the background

In this article, with the help of photos, we will learn about wattle or acacia allergy ( Genus: Acacia).

These trees are insect-pollinated, as a result, their pollen does not become airborne easily. That said, we do catch low counts of acacia pollen on a dry windy day in the San Francisco Bay Area.

The species that grow in the Bay Area have bright showy, hard to miss, yellow flowers during spring.

acacia or wattle (Genus: Acacia)Pollen allergy profile
Pollen seasonFebruary, March, Apr
Pollination typeInsect-pollinated. The pollen only becomes airborne only in dry windy conditions.
Cross-reactivity to other pollenNot known.
Pollen sourceBright yellow, showy, flowers for species present in the Bay Area.
GenderMonoecious: Male and female flowers are present on the same tree.
Tree size and shapeShrubs or medium-size trees.

Acacia flowers

Wattle or acacia trees are easy to recognize during spring due to their bright yellow blooms. The round flowers arrange in ornamental inflorescences.

These bright yellow flowers are the source of pollen that causes acacia allergy.

The flowers give way to green legumes during summer, which turn brown during fall.

Acacia pollen

Acacia pollen is about 50 microns in size. It is a polyad with 16 grains in one pollen. The pollen is insect-transported, primarily by bees.

A pink colored round soccer ball like body of acacia pollen
Acacia pollen under a microscope.

Acacia Fruit

The acacia trees are of the Legume family (Family: Fabaceae). So, there is no surprise that their fruits are, well, legumes.

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A quick summary of Acacia allergies

Since acacia trees are primarily insect-pollinated, they are not an important allergen. However, clinicians often have this pollen on the test panel. Eucalyptus, another insect-pollinated plant, produces pollen at the same time as Acacia.

If you are among the few who have acacia allergies, you have to take only precautions when their bright colorful flowers are in bloom during winter and spring. And, the risk of exposure is high only on dry windy days.

Sources

  1. https://plants.usda.gov/

References

  1. Allergy Plants by Mary Jelks, M.D.
  2. Plant identification terminology by James G. Harris and Melinda Woolf Harris (Second Edition)
  3. Sampling and identifying pollens and Molds by E. Grant Smith
  4. The trees of golden gate park and San Francisco by Elizabeth McClintock Ph.D.

All pictures, unless otherwise credited to another source, are taken by the author and are copyrighted material. The pollen picture is taken in our aerobiology lab using an Olympus compound microscope. The use of pictures is permitted with a link back to the source page on the internet, or, an attribution to allerma.com on the printed material.

Sudhir Setia

Sudhir is certified by the National Allergy Bureau (NAB) as a pollen counter and identifier. He has been living with Hay Fever for nearly 30 years and studies allergens at his aerobiology lab.

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