“Weed control boards should add it to their invasive weeds list as soon as possible”
SCIENTISTS this week made a landmark discovery when ragweed, a highly allergenic weed native to North America, was detected in South African pollen spore traps for the first time.
The discovery was made by UCT aerobiologist Dr Dilys Berman and UCT Lung Institute Allergy Unit head Professor Jonny Peter.
Wits University palynologist Dr Frank Neumann, whose research focuses on the impact that climate change has on vegetation, also confirmed that the pollen grains belong to the invasive Ambrosia species.
Peter said that while the threat of allergic plants such as the ragweed migrating southward because of climate change has always been a concern, little did they know it was going to show up so soon.
“Ragweed is incredibly invasive, and its potent pollen has been problematic in the US for many decades.
“In recent years, allergy sufferers in Europe and South America have also come under threat as ragweed started to invade these areas.”
Peter said that either way you looked at it, ragweed was on the move.
“Once it sprouts, it can multiply and grow up to two metres in height in a matter of weeks.
“Weed control boards should add it to their invasive weeds list as soon as possible,” he said. – Mercury Correspondent