A woman has stunned TikTok with a video in which she claims that ‘botanical sexism’ is partially to blame for allergies getting worse each season.
Ellie Botoman, 24, from New York, cited horticulturist Tom Ogren’s research in her viral clip, which has been viewed more than 1.9 million times. The TikTok shows her taking a sip of her coffee in her apartment and then pausing, as if something had just occurred to her.
‘When you realize that allergies/asthma across North America got worse [because] landscapers and city planners thought male trees were easier to maintain,’ she captioned the video.
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Blowing minds: Ellie Botoman, 24, from New York, has explained how ‘botanical sexism’ has contributed to allergy and asthma symptoms worsening in viral TikTok video
Say what? Botoman cited horticulturist Tom Ogren’s research, explaining that allergies are increasing each year because of the surplus of male trees planted across North America
‘And [because] they planted so many male trees, those species now release tons of pollen each year to compete for a few females,’ she continued.
‘This lack of biodiversity and climate change fueling longer and earlier pollen seasons has caused allergies and asthma rates to accelerate.
‘So you’re sneezing and congested all day because of botanical sexism.’
Ogren coined the term botanical sexism to describe a trend seen over the last few decades in which landscapers and urban growers increasingly plant male plants, instead of more ‘messy’ female plants that shed seeds, fruits, or pods.
The expert made the discovery while searching for pollen-free plants for his yard to help alleviate his wife’s allergies and asthma, according to MNN. In doing so, Ogren found his city was dominated by male plants.
This is why: Botoman said the ‘lack of biodiversity’ combined with ‘climate change fueling longer and earlier pollen seasons has caused allergies and asthma rates to accelerate’
Stunned: TikTokers who weren’t aware of Ogren’s research were blown away, with many admitting they weren’t surprised that males were to blame
The influx of male plants started after the mid-1980s, when millions of city trees were wiped out by Dutch elm disease, Ogren explained in a 2015 op-ed for Scientific American.
‘The problem is that while these trees and plants are “litter-free,” they all produce abundant allergenic pollen,’ he wrote of male trees.
And, as they get bigger each year, they release more pollen.
‘Almost all urban allergies now come directly from the planted landscape — they are homegrown,’ he claimed.
To fight the issue, Orgren has been urging landscapers and local growers to use more female trees.
WHAT IS BOTANICAL SEXISM?
‘Botanical sexism’ is a term coined by horticultural expert Thomas Lee Ogren.
While it might sound odd, the phrase could help to explain the rise in pollen-related allergies across the US.
Begonias are among the hanging plants that have become more popular in recent years. And, they’re often male
Botanical sexism describes a trend seen over the last few decades in which landscapers and urban growers increasingly plant male plants, instead of more ‘messy’ female plants.
But, while female plants may shed seeds and pods, there are downsides to predominantly choosing male plants.
‘The problem is that while these trees and plants are “litter-free,” they all produce abundant allergenic pollen,’ Ogren explains in an op-ed for Scientific American.
As these male trees grow over the years, the produce and shed more and more pollen.
Botoman made it clear in her video’s caption that she was citing Orgren’s research writing: ‘Tom Ogren is credited for the term after finding only male trees planted in his community.’
However, those who weren’t aware of botanical sexism were blown away — and many admitted they never knew that trees could even have genders.
‘Today I learned there’s such thing as male and female trees,’ one person wrote, while another joked that the ‘patreearchy’ was to blame for allergy symptoms worsening.
Others insisted they weren’t surprised that males were to blame.
‘MEN LITERALLY RUIN EVERYTHING,’ one TikToker griped, while another commented: It’s literally never not a man at the roof of the problem.’
‘I usually go and research stuff I learn on here but this just feels true, so I’m not even going to. I just accept this as is,’ someone else wrote.