The Yellow Peril

Pine pollen floating on a lake

Pine pollen floating on a lake

The Yellow Peril, our name for the mass of pine pollen shed each Spring. has come and gone again. It coated the surface of the lake with a yellow-brown scum.

Pine pollen on a driveway

Pine pollen on a driveway

It ran in streams and collected in pools on the driveway after a light rain.

Male cones on a Loblolly Pine

Male cones on a Loblolly Pine

The pollen comes from the multitudes of small male cone produced on pine trees. These are male cones on a Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda).

Pollen being shed from a Loblolly Pine

Pollen being shed from a Loblolly Pine

If you shake a branch a great mass of pollen is released. If anyone doubts that wind pollination could work, they only have to see how much pollen is released to the breezes by these plants.

Loblolly Pine male cones

Loblolly Pine male cones

The small male cones are arranged in a spiral pattern at the end of branches. The new stem emerges above the cones. At this stage, before they release their pollen, the cones look like tiny ears of corn.

Loblolly Pine male cones after pollen is shed

Loblolly Pine male cones after pollen is shed

After pollen is released the cones twist a a grotesque fashion and finally are shed from the tree.

Loblolly Pines are very common here, so we truly have lots of pollen released in the Spring. Incidentally, a loblolly is a wet or swampy place. Apparently Loblolly Pines were noted for growing in such places. However, it is now evident that they grow very well in a variety of habitats. They are fast-growing and frequently planted on a large scale for paper production.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.