Which Plants Set Off Your Allergies?

Spring is finally upon us – allergy sufferers beware!

For most British people, spring is usually a time to celebrate.

The weather gets warmer, we tentatively start leaving the house without our winter coats and optimistic Dads attempt firing up their BBQs for the first time. Unfortunately for thousands of Brits, the emergence of spring spells the beginning of a trying time that doesn’t end until autumn. Allergy sufferers across the country are given the chance to recover from their ailments during the winter, but as soon as new life begins to emerge, the pollen, seeds and sap that is the cause of countless allergic reactions, rises once more and makes life difficult for those susceptible to reactions.

Those who spend the majority of their time outside are at the most risk. Gardeners are usually the first to spot the changing of the seasons. The beginning of spring is heralded with new shoots pushing through the earth, not all of which are completely welcome…Amongst the plants that gardeners are attempting to cultivate, there are many which they’d rather not see on their land too. Japanese knotweed is one particular plant that often finds a way of re-establishing itself, even after its been vigorously burnt and dug out. Thankfully, whilst getting rid of Japanese knotweed can be a real pain, at least it doesn’t cause any harm to our bodies.

Plants can prove to be truly troublesome to allergy sufferers throughout the summer months and these are the amongst the worst offenders:

Birch tree

It starts as a tickling in the nose which slowly works its way to the back of your throat and then causes an intense watering in your eyes. Hayfever sufferers will recognise these symptoms and understand them too well. Birch trees are just one of many species that can cause real problems to those with allergies. It’s the sheer number of these trees nature more than anything else that makes it so difficult to deal with during the summer.

Sheep’s sorrel

Weeds are difficult to deal with and Sheep’s sorrel is one such plant that is also known to cause some irritating issues with our skin. Although this common weed is a popular choice among foragers (who prize the leaves for its tangy tastes), it can easily irritate the skin, making it a particularly tricky weed to remove. If you spot this pest in your back garden then you can either nip it in the bud during spring and throw it in a salad, or buy a strong weedkiller to get to the root of the problem.


It should come as little surprise that the common nettle is one of the least loved plants in the UK. It’s prickly sting can leave raised, itchy marks on the skin which take hours to subside and some people can have even more unfortunate side-effects including hives, sneezing eyes. Taking an anti-histamine should help combat the hay fever-like symptoms however there is no protection against the stings, unless you’re planning on covering yourself in plant-proof clothing!