The weird reason your hayfever may be worse in cities

There is a bizarre reason why your hayfever may be worse in cities, and why where you live may be affecting it more than you realize

hayfever may be worse in cities
(Image credit: bluecinema / Getty )

It's easy to assume that hayfever would be worse in the countryside where there are more plants and trees and surely more pollen, but actually, there is a weird reason why cities may actually be worse for hayfever.

In the Spring months, allergy season is well and truly upon us and many people suffer from hayfever. Even with all the natural remedies to keep your hayfever at bay many of us are still left questioning, 'Why is my hay fever so bad?'

If you've been noticing that your hayfever is particularly bad at the moment and you live or work in a city, this may be because of a bizarre issue that means cities have a lot more pollen flying around than you might expect.

hayfever

(Image credit: Martin Leigh / Getty Images)

When city planners design a city, they typically favor male trees that do not create fruit. This is because fruit trees create a mess when the fruit is dropped and the seeds can become a mess that then requires cleaning up. 

For decades this system of planting male trees has been in practice in cities across the US and Europe in a move that some experts are calling 'botanical sexism.' While this may seem like a sensible move, this plant preference has directly led to an increase in pollen in cities. This is because these male trees have no seed or fruit or pods to drop, and only released pollen.

In an article from The Guardian, Tom Ogren, a horticulturist explained that by growing only male trees, the planners had created "something that doesn’t even exist in nature."

The horticulturalist first discovered this phenomenon more than three decades ago when he realized that his wife's allergies to pollen were far worse when they were in San Luis Obispo, California, and he started researching allergy-inducing plants and trees. 

The horticulturalist's word is now highly respected and many city planners are aware of the impact that 'botanical sexism' can have on the people living in the city. However, there are still many cities across the world that are still filled with predominately male plants that are creating a large amount of pollen. 

So if you live or work in a city, there may be a reason why your hayfever is much worse when you enter the city and leave the countryside.

Laura is a news writer for woman&home who primarily covers entertainment and celebrity news. Laura dabbles in lifestyle, royal, beauty, and fashion news, and loves to cover anything and everything to do with television and film. She is also passionate about feminism and equality and loves writing about gender issues and feminist literature.


Laura loves drinking and eating and can often be found trying to get reservations at London's trendiest restaurants. When she's not wining and dining, Laura can also be found travelling, baking, and hiking with her dog.