Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Why Do Your Allergies Get Worse Every Year? Tree Sexism.

Okay, I'm gonna tell you right now, that headline is misleading. But the very idea had me rolling last night after I came upon it in the middle of scrolling through a Twitter that was absolutely laden with news about the Iran missile strikes and the looming war and speculation on the terrible places we're headed. So, you know, maybe you need a laugh, too.

Yes, it's true, cities have been planting only male trees. All this time I had thought that the increase in pollen in the air to the point that it coats the car and is giving even people who never had them before allergies was due to global warming. While that still may have been a factor, the biggest reason was apparently that cities think female trees "litter" too much with seed pods and stuff and they didn't fucking think ahead.

Arborists often claim that all-male plants are “litter-free” because they shed no messy seeds, fruits or pods. In the 1949 USDA Yearbook of Agriculture, which focused on trees and forests, this advice was given to readers: “When used for street plantings, only male trees should be selected, to avoid the nuisance from the seed.” In the years following, the USDA produced and released into the market almost 100 new red maple and hybrid-maple-named clones (cultivars), and every single one of them was male.

Not just city planners, even. Arborists. The USDA. None of them considering where the fuck all the pollen from the "male" trees would go if there were no "female" trees around to suck that shit up.

So this wasn't the result of direct sexism, just another case of how humans fail to consider the ramifications of their fucking with nature all the goddamn time. However, Jessica Price does make the case that the idea of female trees being "messy" could still be tied to real human sexism. And she does it in a really funny way.

I lost it at "jizz pollen on your car & nostrils."

Thank you, Jessica Price, for this comic relief in the middle of what was a generally very bad day.

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