All Blogs

Betula sp.

Betula sp.

Betula sp. Birch By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D.NAB Certified Pollen CounterAAAC Collection Station—Birmingham, Alabama Betula is the type genus for the family Betulaceae. This family contains six genera and between 120-150 species. Five genera are found in...

read more
Artemisia sp.

Artemisia sp.

Artemisia sp. Sagebrush, Mugwort, Wormwood By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D.NAB Certified Pollen CounterAAAC Collection Station—Birmingham, Alabama The genus Artemisia is a large, diverse genus of plants having between 200 and 400 species. Its name is derived from...

read more

Asteraceae

Asteaceae Plants in This Family Other Than Ragweed Which Produce Allergenic Pollen By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D.NAB Certified Pollen CounterAAAC Collection Station—Birmingham, Alabama I have written previously about the leading cause of allergic rhinitis [AR]...

read more

Hay Fever and Anxiety

Hay Fever and Anxiety By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D.NAB Certified Pollen CounterAAAC Collection Station—Birmingham, Alabama Hay fever is a problem! It doesn’t require an advanced degree to know this statement is true if you are one of the unfortunate individuals who suffers...

read more

Plantago sp.

Plantago sp. By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D.NAB Certified Pollen CounterAAAC Collection Station—Birmingham, Alabama Pasture with lots of plantain and bahia grass. Dark heads are plantain inflorescences. Plantago pollen – note multiple pores in the pollen grains...

read more
Thunderstorm Fever

Thunderstorm Fever

Thunderstorm Asthma By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D.NAB Certified Pollen CounterAAAC Collection Station—Birmingham, Alabama You perhaps have read about thunderstorm asthma or thunderstorm fever and the significant impact that it has had on some individuals. This...

read more
The Wonderful World of Fungi – Part X

The Wonderful World of Fungi – Part X

The Wonderful World of FungiPart X – Division Ascomycota – Fascinating Members (Morels)By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D.NAB Certified Pollen CounterAAAC Collection Station—Birmingham, Alabama It has been a while since I wrote anything about that most...

read more

The Wonderful World of Fungi

The Wonderful World of Fungi Part VII – Division Ascomycota – Introduction By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter AAAC Collection Station—Birmingham, Alabama It has been a while since I wrote anything about fungi on this blog so I thought...

read more

Pollen and Honeybees

Pollen and Honeybees By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Insects are the most important group of animals in regards to pollination of flowering plants.  Bees, including bumble bees and solitary bees play significant roles in flower...

read more

Which Plants Produce the Most Pollen?

Smallest and Largest Plant Pollinators By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Angiosperms (flowering plants) and gymnosperms (mostly conifers) produce pollen.  The pollen grain is the male gametophyte of plants and is analogous to sperm...

read more

Smallest and Largest Plant Pollinators

Smallest and Largest Plant Pollinators By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter In a previous blog we looked at the smallest and largest flowers and how they are pollinated.  Water is used in transferring pollen in Wolffia, the genus of plants...

read more

Advances in Food Allergy Treatment

Background Food allergy affects over 12 million Americans and is on the rise. From 1997-2007, the prevalence of reported food allergy increased 18% among children under 18 years of age. 4-6% of children in the U.S. have food allergy and about 1-2% of...

read more

Pollination of the World’s Smallest and Largest Plants

Pollination of the World’s Smallest and Largest Plants By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Flower-producing plants (angiosperms) come in a variety of sizes and shapes but they all share the need to have pollen grains (the male...

read more

Plant Polsters and Pollen

Plant Polsters and Pollen Oh No, You Mean Even Plants Are Becoming Involved in Politics? By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter We hear lots about political polls during election cycles and we are periodically treated to the lasted Gallup...

read more

Urticaceae

Urticaceae Stinging nettle, pellitory, false nettle By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter If you are a regular reader of my blogs, then you are aware that I have written about a variety of plant species that are principally wind pollinated...

read more

The Wonderful World of Fungi – Part VI

The Wonderful World of Fungi, Part VI Fascinating Members of the Division Zygomycota By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter In the previous blog on the Zygomycota (part V), I indicated that this group of fungi had some fascinating members...

read more

Amaranthus and Chenopodium

Amaranthus and Chenopodium (Pig Weed and Lambsquarters) By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Pig weed and goosefoot (also called lambsquarters) are late summer and early fall flowering plants that belong to the family Amaranthaceae. These...

read more

The Wonderful World of Fungi – Part V

The Wonderful World of Fungi, Part V Division Zygomycota By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Fungal taxonomy follows very specific rules regarding how a given fungus is named and how it is related to other fungi. All true fungi are placed...

read more

The Wonderful World of Fungi, Part IV

The Wonderful World of Fungi, Part IV Coprophilous Fungi & Succession on Dung By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Dung is more than you might think — not just that smelly, nasty stuff that is terrible to get on your shoes. Neither is it merely an...

read more

The Wonderful World of Fungi, Part III

The Wonderful World of Fungi, Part II Importance of Fungi to Human Affairs By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Not only are fungi some of the most fascinating organisms found on earth because of their life cycles, modes of nutrition, growth habits,...

read more

The Wonderful World of Fungi, Part II

The Wonderful World of Fungi, Part II Characteristics of Fungi By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter The first blog of this series on fungi dealt with describing which organisms are properly called fungi and how these organisms are currently grouped...

read more

The Wonderful World of Fungi

The Wonderful World of Fungi Organisms That Can Really Grow on You By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Fungi (singular fungus) are microscopic to macroscopic organisms that are ubiquitous in nature. They are found in every imaginable habitat and have...

read more

Getting to Know Our Local Pollen: Grass

Poaceae – The Grass Family By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center Collection Station - Birmingham, Alabama Grasses begin releasing pollen in this part of the United States during the early spring (March), and grass pollen...

read more

Forensic Palynology

Forensic Palynology – Use of Pollen to Solve Crimes By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Determination of time of death (T.O.D.) is one of the most important pieces of information that homicide investigators need in solving murder investigations. This...

read more

Getting to Know Our Local Pollen: Privet Hedges

Oleacea - Ligustrum sp. Privet Hedge By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center Collection Station - Birmingham, Alabama If you have been reading my recent blogs, you are aware that I am writing a series on species of plants...

read more

Getting to Know Our Local Pollen: Olive Trees

Oleacea - Olea europaea Olive Trees By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center Collection Station - Birmingham, Alabama If you have been reading my recent blogs, you are aware that I am writing a series on species of plants...

read more
Getting to Know Our Local Pollen: Ash

Getting to Know Our Local Pollen: Ash

Oleacea – Fraxinus sp. Ash Trees By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center Collection Station – Birmingham, Alabama If you have been reading my recent blogs, you are aware that I am writing a series on species of plants that...

read more

Getting to Know Our Local Pollen: Ash

Oleacea - Fraxinus sp. Ash Trees By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center Collection Station - Birmingham, Alabama If you have been reading my recent blogs, you are aware that I am writing a series on species of plants that...

read more
Getting to Know Our Local Pollen: Mulberry

Getting to Know Our Local Pollen: Mulberry

Mulberry (Morus sp.) By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center Collection Station – Birmingham, Alabama The genus Morus is a member of the Moraceae family of plants. This is a large, economically important family with some...

read more

Getting to Know Our Local Pollen: Mulberry

Mulberry (Morus sp.) By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center Collection Station—Birmingham, Alabama The genus Morus is a member of the Moraceae family of plants. This is a large, economically important family with some 73...

read more

Getting to Know Our Local Pollen: Oaks

Quercus sp. (Oaks) By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center Collection Station—Birmingham, Alabama Although we find tree pollens in significant numbers starting as early as January each year, it is not until late March and...

read more

Getting to Know Our Local Pollen: Pines

Pinus sp. & the Family Pinaceae Pines and Related Conifers (Pines) By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center Collection Station—Birmingham, Alabama   Pinus sp. & the Family Pinaceae – Pines and Related Conifers (Trees...

read more

Getting to Know Our Local Pollen: Elms

Ulmus sp. (Elms) By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center Collection Station—Birmingham, Alabama   As pointed out in an earlier blog, the first of the tree pollens that we see in northern Alabama is cedar, a gymnosperm....

read more

Getting to Know Our Local Pollen: Cedar

Juniperus Virginiana (Cedar or Red Cedar) By: H. Wayne Shew, Ph.D. NAB Certified Pollen Counter Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center Collection Station—Birmingham, Alabama Cedar is one of the first of the airborne pollens to show up every year in any significant amount in...

read more

Did your mom tell you that you were allergic to penicillin?

Click Here to see the NEW CDC Fact Sheet! There is an easy way to find out if you are truly allergic to penicillin. For penicillin allergy testing, call Alabama Allergy & Asthma Center  to make an appointment with one of our board - certified allergists today!    ...

read more

Why Participate in a Clinical Trial?

Clinical Trials for Allergy and Asthma Related Conditions Mr. Smith’s worsening COPD has left him unable to work or enjoy activities with his grandchildren. His doctor has prescribed multiple medicines, often expensive, rarely effective. Mrs. Jones has been to several...

read more

What is Common Ragweed and Why Does It Cause Hay Fever?

Common Ragweed: Leading Cause of Hay Fever This Ambrosia was definitely not the food or drink of the Greek gods! What is Common Ragweed? Ambrosia Artemisiifolia is the scientific name of common ragweed, the bane of many hay fever sufferers.  Ragweed is the leading...

read more

Pollen Seasons & Forecast Calendar

Recognizing the Pollen Seasons Plants flower at different times during the year.  In fact, it is possible in Alabama to find some plant in flower during every month of the year. Our winters are rarely cold enough to prevent some tenacious weed like dandelion, or...

read more

Opals – What Do They Have to Do with Allergies?

Actually, the gemstones called opals don’t have anything to do with allergies, but OPALS® does.  This acronym stands for Ogren Plant-Allergy Scale, a tool to help individuals make smarter, more informed decisions about plant selections for use in and near their homes,...

read more

Collecting and Counting Airborne Pollen and Mold Spores

When present en masse, it is possible to see pollen on surfaces of objects such as cars, patio tables, sidewalks, etc.  However, it is rare to actually see pollen when it is present in the air because the number of grains in a given volume of air is too low to be seen...

read more

What Does a “High Level” for Tree Pollen Mean?

Those of you reading this blog are aware of the updated website for the Alabama Allergy and Asthma Center (AAAC).  One of the updates to the site is a posting of the most current pollen count from the National Allergy Bureau (NAB) certified collection station located...

read more

Seasonal Allergy

What is Seasonal Allergy? The phrase seasonal allergy is frequently used in commercials trying to sell a product that is designed to reduce allergy symptoms such as runny nose and itchy, watery eyes. What is seasonal allergy and what do you need to know to combat it?...

read more

What is a Flower? – PT 2

The Pollination Process In my last blog post I talked about some of the basics of flower structure and function. Flowers produce fruits which house the seeds. Seeds are the structures produced through sexual reproduction to ensure continuation of the plant in...

read more

What is a Flower? – PT 1

Flowers and Reproductive Structure “A rose by any other name…” For most of us the word flower brings to mind something pretty to look at and/or pleasant to smell, and which grows in gardens or in pots on our patios. Flowers are typically thought of around Valentine’s...

read more

What is Pollen – PT 2

What is Pollen? (Part II) In part I of this discussion about pollen, I talked about wind-pollinated plants versus animal-pollinated plants with reference to the number of pollen grains produced by the plants and indicated that wind-pollinated plants produce greater...

read more

What Is Pollen? – PT 1

For some allergy sufferers the word pollen brings to mind something designed to cause pain and suffering; small particles having a dust-like consistency that are produced by plants, and which must be the result of a curse placed on us for eating these plants. For many...

read more

Pollen Season Is Just Around the Corner – Get Ready Now!

When we have days like those we have seen for the past week or so, it may seem that spring will never arrive.  The advantage of this kind of weather for those who suffer from pollen allergies is that the airborne pollen counts remain low, meaning pollen induced...

read more

Why The Increase In Allergies and Asthma?

Hi! Most of our group is at our annual AAAAI allergy meeting (aaaai.org). I'm listening to a lecture on "How the Microbial Environmental Influences the Development of Allergic Diseases." This is my final post on why there is an increase in allergies and asthma. My...

read more

Why Are We Having More Allergies: Microbiome

Hi, everyone. This is part of my ongoing series on why we are having more allergies. I have talked about the 20-year-old hygiene hypothesis theory and Nobel-winning immune tolerance discovery. Now it appears that bacteria in our gut are playing a huge role in...

read more

The Hygiene Hypothesis

Hi! Today I’m discussing why Americans are becoming more allergic, known as the Hygiene Hypothesis. I first need to give some background on immunology. In the late 1990's, immunologists discovered the other half (maybe even more than half) of the immune system. We...

read more

Why Americans Are Developing More Allergies?

Hi all! I often get questions about why Americans are developing more allergies. I am going to start periodically posting interesting articles about this subject. Here is my first post...The hygiene hypothesis is probably the leading theory. We are living in a too...

read more

EpiPen 4 Schools!

Attention Educators and School Nurses! Mylan Specialty the makers of EpiPen is offering a unique program to assist schools (K-12) in obtaining EpiPens at no cost for the newly passed EpiPen legislation in the state of Alabama. If you are interested in taking advantage...

read more