Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Ambrosia artemisiifolia: foliage

Note: this plant is considered a noxious weed under the Ontario Weed Control Act Ambrosia artemisiifolia, known in English as "common ragweed" or "short ragweed" and in French as petite herbe à poux or ambrosie à feuilles d'armoise is an annual native to North America, infamous for its highly allergenic pollen.

Last year when these pretty leaves started emerging in the spring, I was sure they were something "good". Imagine my disappointment when I realised they were in fact ragweed. Ragweed's flowers are tiny and green; they don't need to be showy to attract insects because they are wind-pollinated. I don't know if I'm allergic to ragweed myself (I'm stuffed up all year round due to my fibromyalgia), but a friend down the street suffered from ragweed allergies, and ragweed pollen can travel hundreds of miles on the wind.

Even though ragweed is a native plant, I think those of us in populated areas should pull it out of consideration for all the people sickened by ragweed pollen. The Ontario government has designated ragweed as a noxious weed.

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