NordGen Plants

Svalbard Global Seed Vault

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Pollen free birches

Birches for pollen allergists?

Birch pollen is a great problem for many pollen allergists. Maybe there is an alternative to use for landscape planners and pollen allergic garden owners. There have been some few and sporadic observations that the variety ‘Ornäsbjörk’ and some other laciniate leaf birch genotypes do not have flower clusters, which wold mean that they are free from pollen

306px-Ornäsbjörklöv_David Castor

photo: David Castor (Creative Commons)

If these observations are not only due to occasional lack of clusters, these types of birches can be useful for environments adaped for allergists.

To find out, a project was formulated by Henrik Morin (project leader at the Swedish program for plant genetic resources) and PerOla Fritzon (arborist) in which a large number of trees of laciniate leaves type would be investigated during flowering time. Funding for the project was approved by NordGen from the budget for activities within fruit, berries and ornamentals.

In the spring of 2014 during birch flowering time, 312 trees were inventored and documented. None of the studied trees had flower clusters, and hence no pollen. Some other morphological types than earlier described were also noted. 

Read more  here  and in the final report .