Orchid Allergies and Sensitivities

Are you an allergy sufferer who fears that your nose has confined you to a life of plastic flowers? Orchids may be the answer. Allergic reactions to orchids are rare because they don’t have airborne pollen. Instead, their pollen clumps in waxy little balls called pollinia. Since it doesn’t float freely in the air, it’s unlikely to cause sneezing, itching, or watery eyes. People with hay fever, like me, often remain symptom-free in a room full of blooming orchids.

Any organic matter can cause allergies, and orchid sensitivities do exist. Naturally occurring chemicals in plants may be benign to most people’s immune systems, but bother others. In addition, orchid growers may use pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or growth hormones. These chemicals can sometimes cause symptoms in sensitive individuals, ranging from mild reactions to more severe rashes or breathing problems.

For those affected by fragrances, there are many scentless orchids. Most commonly sold Phals, Paphs, Dendrobiums, Epidendrums, Masdevallias, and Oncidiums have no perfume. Avoid Cattleyas, Cymbidiums, and Miltonias, which usually have scents.

Artificial fertilizers may cause reactions. Some people may be sensitive to potting material like bark or moss. A few orchid varieties have sap that irritates skin. Some types of lady slippers grow prickly hairs on their stems and leaves, but they are not commonly cultivated.

No flower is 100% allergy free, but orchids have the advantage of their harmless pollen. In fact, the Asthma & Allergy Foundation of America has chosen the orchid as its official flower. So put away those plastic blossoms, and try orchids instead. Your nose will thank you.

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3 Comments on “Orchid Allergies and Sensitivities”

  1. Phyllis Watts Says:

    Thanks once again for saving me! Your tips just helped me work out an answer about plant allergies earlier today. Don’t stop, keep up the sterling work. Wonderful, keep it up thanks.

  2. Antoine Says:

    Solid Information on this blog… Simply my $.02 🙂

  3. nancy Says:

    Thanks for the bit about pesticides and fungicides. Three years ago I bought an orchid that I swore made me break out. Then my husband touched it and it irritated his skin too. I knew we couldn’t both be having a reaction like that when it was never a problem for either one of us befor or since. Whatever chemical was on it must have finally washed away because I still have it and we’re both fine!