Field of Science

Good year for haploid males

Enough about the weather, but since it is late summer, we must post on a topic TPP has visited before. This will be no surprise for people who suffer from hayfever, but this has been a very good year for haploid males, not all haploid males, but certainly those being dispersed by common species of Ambrosia (ragweed).  The giant ragweed around here, and in one location it borders a jogging/walking/bicycling trail so thickly it's a wonder anyone can survive this pollen gauntlet, has done very well in spite of the drought.  So for all you hayfever sufferers, it's looking like a bad season as the ragweed begins to flower and disperse it's tiny wind-dispersed males (pollen).  Of course, many people here abouts blame goldenrods for their hayfever because they flower at about the same time as ragweed and having colorful flowers, they are noticed.  However, colorful displays means they are attracting insects to disperse their pollen, and it isn't blowing around on the wind to be inhaled.  The only thing that still puzzles TPP, and the answer has eluded me for years, is why were ragweeds named after ambrosia, something delightful to taste and smell, unless this was Linnaeus' idea of a joke. 


BrianO said...

Dearest Phactor,

my theory on Ambrosia.

Honey bees are ancient symbols of immortality.

Linnaeus knew that bees collected pollen and nectar, and that they made honey from the nectar. Therefore he might reason that pollen must be their source of food as the honey is there for us to collect.

Thus their food (pollen) could have a role in their immortality.

Ambrosia ( derived from a sanskrit word ) is the food (NB not the drink) of the gods imparting immortality. So a plant producing abundant pollen might indeed be reasonably named Ambrosia.

i think this an excellent theory!!


The Phytophactor said...

Well, Linnaeus also would have known that ragweed was wind pollinated and didn't attract bees or provide them with nectar. So, an excellent, but still pretty iffy, theory.