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Seasonal Science: Pine Pollen

2 minutes

(female narrator) Head south to the land of the pines this spring to see love in the air. It's pine reproduction season, and the yellow dust is everywhere.

Seasonal Science brings you "Pine Pollen."

(Describer) Title: aka yellow dust.

Ah, pines. Love them or hate them, they've been around for a very long time, and their reproduction strategy makes car wash owners drool. Here are the basics. Each tree has female pine cones and male pine cones. The male ones produce that pollen, and they aren't messing around. A single tree can produce

two to five pounds of pollen per season. The warm spring wind carries pollen from male to female cones, and the next generation of pine is born. When the season hits depends on temperature. Warmer spring means an earlier season, a colder spring means a later season. Either way, pine pollen is coming. The only relief is rain, which washes pollen from the air and your car, saving you from the car wash. But don't immediately blame that springtime runny nose on the yellow dust. Pine pollen is categorized as an irritant, not an allergen, and it gets a bad rap because of its size. Unlike the other tree pollen, pine pollen is big and visible and messy. But pine lumber is a huge industry in some states, and they are trees, meaning oxygen production, CO2 reduction, critter habitat, and many good things that come with lots of greenery. So, as the dust settles, hit that car wash and hunker down. It'll all be over in two to three weeks.

(Describer) Seasonal Science by Melissa Salpietra. Accessibility provided by the US Department of Education.

Accessibility provided by the U.S. Department of Education.

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Why does everything turn yellow in spring? Pine trees produce yellow pollen every year at this time. This annoying ritual is necessary for pine trees to reproduce. Part of the "Seasonal Science" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 2 minutes

Seasonal Science
Episode 1
3 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
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Episode 2
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