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The Pollen Section

Tree Pollen’s Unique Signature

It might not be as pretty as snowflakes, and certainly not as harmless, but tree pollen is beautiful in its own way, says New Jersey-based allergist Dr. Donald Dvorin.

Each tree species has a signature pollen that can be identified under a microscope. As a certified pollen counter who regularly collects pollen from stations in New Jersey and Philadelphia, Dvorin can identify about 30 different trees just from examining the pollen’s size, shape and surface “architecture” of distinctive pits and apertures.

In high pollen season, the number of tree-pollen grains in the air can reach up to 3,000 particles per cubic meter, according to some estimates – pretty scary, since experts say that people with tree-pollen allergies will become symptomatic when pollen counts are 200 particles per cubic meter.

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