There are so many reasons to love spring, but for many Australians, the first day of September means one thing – allergy season. It's estimated that 1 in 5 people in Australia and New Zealand are affected by hayfever or allergic rhinitis. At this time of year, it can become debilitating, with common symptoms including itchy eyes, nose, throat and ears.
But there’s no need to worry, as not all hope is lost. There are many flower varieties that are hypoallergenic, with little to no airborne pollen.
If you're looking for the perfect anniversary bouquet or a simple floral pick-me-up, here's our advice on gifting flowers to the special allergy-sufferers in your life.
What triggers allergies?
Different people are affected by various triggers, so it's not a one-size-fits-all problem. Hayfever and asthma triggers aren't only limited to flowers. Some species of trees, weeds and grasses (mainly perennial ryegrass) can bring on an allergy attack, which explains why spring and summer can be such difficult times for those with pollen allergies and asthma.
Don't all flowers have pollen?
When plants are pollinating, the release of pollen into the air will trigger an immune system reaction in those who suffer from allergies. This means that it's really the pollen that people who have allergies find troubling - not the plant itself.
The real question is whether the flowers are pollinated by wind or by birds, insects or animals. Some plant species will only produce pollen through male plants. Without getting too deep into the technical side of things, plants that contain both male and female parts (known as 'perfect flowers) are safer for allergy sufferers, as pollination doesn't take place by air.
Wind-pollinated flowers tend to be less colourful and not as sweet-smelling compared to plants that rely on other creatures for pollination. This is because of their appealing smell, and bright colours help to attract animals.
While it's best to leave the allergy fine print and medical advice to the experts (please speak with your GP if you're concerned about allergies), hypoallergenic flowers generally have lots of petals and no visible centre (or stamen). These flowers include roses, tulips, daffodils, geraniums, cactus, iris, most lilies and potted orchids.
As a general rule (again, please check with a medical professional if you're unsure) allergy sufferers should avoid flowers that are smaller and appear in clusters. These flowers include daisies, gerberas, jasmine, and some types of sunflowers.
Avoid supermarket flowers
It's also wise to avoid buying cut flowers from the supermarket when treating the allergy sufferer in your life to a bouquet. These flowers are sometimes sprayed with a fragrance that can itself trigger allergy symptoms. It's much safer to purchase fresh cut flowers from an experienced florist.
Here at Amazing Graze Flowers, we're always flexible with our floral arrangements and know how to work around any allergies and sensitivities. If you'd like to learn more about our beautiful, hypoallergenic flowers, give us a call today.