Local News

Yellow pollen covers cars, coats central N.C.

Posted April 5, 2010 5:04 p.m. EDT
Updated April 5, 2010 6:24 p.m. EDT

— Yellow pollen has taken over central North Carolina. On Monday, it covered cars and wreaked havoc on allergy sufferers.

Where is all the pollen coming from?

Jen Smith, education coordinator of Cape Fear Botanical Garden, says pollen is nothing more than sperm cells from a plant.

“Once it gets those sperm cells delivered to the female part, its job is done,” Smith said.

So far, love is in the air this April. It is also on windshields and pavement.

“I think it’s fallen at a near epidemic proportion this year. It’s everywhere,” Fayetteville resident Mark Wallace said Monday.

Wallace described Monday's blast as "pollen Armageddon."

North Carolina, which is filled with Longleaf and Loblolly pine, is a yellow pollen paradise.

“Because of all of the pines we have, it’s one of the best places to see pollen put on a show,” Smith said.

Smith said the hot, dry weather has made the pollen more noticeable than usual.

“The pollen travels in the wind, and if there’s moisture in the air, that moisture accumulates on the pollen grains and pulls them down and out of the air,” she said.

With the dry weather, "it’s been a great opportunity for these cells to travel through the air and find their targets.”

Dennis Shackelford, of Fayetteville, is one of many suffering from allergy symptoms due to the pollen. "The older I get, the worst I get," he said.

Yellow pollen may come from pine trees, but Smith said most of the other trees are reasons why people are sneezing.

The spores of hardwoods are smaller and lighter than pines, she says, making them easier to travel through your nose.

Allergists say pollen is thickest in the air in early morning and early evening, so it could help to stay inside at those times as much as possible.