Trivia

Hard

The Most Common Source Of “Hay Fever” Is?

Animal Dander
Ragweed Pollen
Hay Particulate
Mold Spores
A ragweed plant that is blooming.
Krzysztof Ziarnek Kenraiz/Wikimedia

Answer: Ragweed Pollen

Millions upon millions of people around the world suffer from what is commonly called “hay fever”. Hay fever, formally allergic rhinitis, is a type of inflammation of the nose resulting from an immune system overreaction to airborne allergens and typically involves a stuffy or runny nose, sneezing, red, itchy, and watery eyes, and swelling around the eyes.

There are a wide range of allergens that can cause hay fever, but the primary cause around the world is pollen, typically the small and light pollens of trees, grasses, and weeds that are pollinated via air movement and not the heavier pollens found in insect-pollinated plants like, say, magnolia trees.

Among all the allergen sources that trigger hay fever, however, there isn’t a source as prolific as ragweed. Ragweed is a flowering plant in the genus Ambrosia of the Asteraceae family and you’ll find it all throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of North, Central, and South America (as well as several species that have hitched a ride to Europe and become naturalized there).

Despite its smaller size compared to the vast reach of pollen shedding trees, ragweed is an astoundingly prolific pollen producer. A single ragweed plant can produce around a billion grains of pollen per season. Further, these particles are so light that they can stay airborne for days and travel on the wind for hundreds of miles. As such, a single stiff wind can loft untold billions of ragweed pollen particles high into the air and rain them down over hundreds of square miles of the surrounding countryside.

Given the sheer number of pollen grains and the ease with which they travel, it should come as no surprise that up to half of the hay fever cases in North America—where the plant is most prolific—can be traced back to ragweed pollen.

Trivia

Hard

Duct Tape Was Originally Invented To Seal?

Trivia

Easy

By Law No U.S. Military Officer Can Outrank Which Historical Figure?

Trivia

Easy

The Lowest Box Office Grossing Film In U.S. History Is?

Trivia

Hard

What Song Meant Hardware Failure On Some Older Motherboards?

Trivia

Easy

What Peculiar Objects Were Launched Into Space During the 1960s to Facilitate Military Communication?

Trivia

Hard

What Ubiquitous Office Application Was Originally Mac-Only?

Trivia

Hard

Kingsnakes Derive Their Name From Their?

Trivia

Hard

The Term “Geek” Originally Referred To?

Trivia

Hard

Homeowners Are Encouraged To Keep Their Hot Water Tank’s Temperature Set Higher To Prevent?

Trivia

Hard

The Term “Jaywalking” Derives Its Name From?