The season cometh

pollen Sept 21 2016 b

I had the great privilege of introducing a group of work experience students to the joys of pollen counting the other day.  And what a fun and engaging time we had together, finding out what pollen is, where it comes from, the different types of pollen and how the pollen of some plants can affect our health.

Amazingly they went from the awe and wonderment of seeing a pollen grain with a microscope for the first time, to counting and identifying pollen a couple of hours later.  What a terrific bunch!

Today's picture shows what was in the air on Thursday September 22 and the students tell me the count was 83 pollen grains per cubic metre of air.  We're now well into the tree pollen season and the slide mainly contained pine and plane tree pollen.  There was even one grass pollen grain, the first but sadly not the last of the season.

Officially we'll start counting on October 1 but will spend the next few days checking out the system and making sure it's all working as it should.

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The elm movie

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The elms are flowering

On Thursday Sept 8 the pollen count was 36 grains per cubic metre of air and we saw something new in the air as well - elm pollen.  Although the elms still lack leaves they are now flowering and their wind-borne pollen is known to cause allergies.  Most of the pollen on Thursday was from pine but about a third was elm.  Our friends at the Canberra pollen count wrote a great little article on elms in Australia which you can read here.

Over the next few weeks we expect to start seeing pollen from several more tree species.

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