Botany

The Relationship between Timothy Grass and Hay Fever



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The relationship between timothy grass and hay fever is almost undeniable. There is a direct influence of timothy grass upon people who are prone to allergies such as hay fever.  While it may be one of the best sources of fodder for grazing animals, especially for horses, this grass can be the very nightmare for the ones collecting it for their animals. 

What is timothy grass? 

Timothy grass is the common name for the plant 'Phleum pratense' which is perennial graminoid and grown for its agricultural value.  It is also known by the name Herd Grass and Meadow Cat's tail. Timothy grass became prominent at the start of the eighteenth century when two pioneering agriculturalists (John Herd (1711) and Timothy Hanson (1720)) understood the value of this fodder grass. 

Systematic position

Kingdom         :  Plantae

Sub-kingdom   : Tracheobionta

Super-division  : Spermatophyta

Division           : Magnoliophyta

Class              : Liliopsia

Sub-class        : Commelinidae

Order              : Graminales

Family             : Poaceae

Genus             : Phleum

Species           : pratense 

What is the relationship between timothy grass and hay fever?

The causative agent for hay fever from timothy grass is the pollen which is dispersed far and wide because of its light weight.  The beginning of summer can cause widespread hay fever allergies over a locality which is exposed to the growth of timothy grass.  When a person who is sensitive to timothy grass comes in contact with the grass pollen, an allergic reaction forms with the production of a chemical called histamine in the body of that person.  Histamine is characteristic of the symptoms such as sneezing, stuffy nose, watering, bloodshot eyes and irritated throat. This can be treated by using the group of medication known as antihistamines along with anti-inflammatory drugs and decongestants. 

Timothy grass is found all over the world where the climate is cold and moist and the soil types are clay or loam or a mixture of both.  It is native of Europe and Africa with the exception of Turkey and most prominent for its fodder value in North America.  It may be found almost all over the US and in the eastern part of Canada.  Timothy grass can be a dread during the spring and summer months, and those people who are prone to hay fever generally get vaccinated each year prior to the allergic seasons.  Timothy grass is like an irony in itself.  While it may be the death of one because of its severe impact upon those who are already sick and allergy prone, it is one of the best fodder crops for grazing animals. 

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More about this author: Amanda Mittra

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