Country newspaper: The grass has grown and so has the pollen | Floors

PPurple and silver: the flowers of the solstice grass. This is the first year that the entire five acres of Brogyntyn Park have not been cut, and Oswestry has designated it as a wildflower meadow. The transformation is lovely. The many buttercups, oxeye daisies, and few orchids have privileges, but the herbs are the liberated proletariat that has never before realized its full potential.

The common names of grasses have an earthy poetry: fescue, false oats, foxtail, fog, bent, brome, couch, coltsfoot, timothy, rye, spring sweet, squitch. For a couple of days now it has stopped raining and it is a little hot. When the sun comes out, so does the pollen. VH, a red signal on the weather map, announces a very high pollen level (more than 150 grains per cubic meter of air). About half of people in the UK report symptoms of hay fever – allergic rhinitis. For millions of people it can cause itchy eyes, runny nose, sore throat and sneezing, but for some the reaction can be life-threatening. Dogs, cats and horses are also affected, as if sacrificing an immune system were compensation for domestication.

The prairie brown butterfly, whose caterpillar feeds on grasses. Photograph: Andrew Cooper/PA

Climate change has altered flowering times and extended the pollination period, increasing human exposure to allergen loads in pollen; This is expected to intensify. Pollen is an important link between the biosphere and the atmosphere. This pile of ghostly dust contains granules that look like microscopic science fiction sculptures, each containing two male gametes to fertilize an egg. Only a fraction will do this and many will end up as food for palinivores (pollen eaters); some baby spiders and hoverflies eat pollen. When consumed by herbivores such as cattle, horses or rabbits, their dung feeds beetles and springtails in the soil; Ants hide pollen underground to convert it into nutrients for fungal mycelial networks.

Due to the decline in herbivores (here in Brogyntyn, for example, dog droppings on the grass prevent grazing), the massive global surplus enters the atmosphere, causing a hay fever epidemic. Pollen in peat deposits is a historical climate archive, and at crime scenes it is forensic evidence. How much pollen is deposited on me following a meadow brown butterfly, whose caterpillar feeds on these grasses? All this pastoral beauty of the summer solstice is not something to be sniffed at.

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