Hay Fever Summer – Grass Pollen in New York

Grasses in Northeast America pollinate in the summer, causing seasonal hay fever. Measures can be taken to minimize pollen contact.

Timothy Grass


Also known as meadow cat’s-tail or common cat’s tail. Grows to 19–59 inches tall. Leaves are hairless, rolled rather than folded, and the lower sheaths turn dark brown. Flowerhead is 2¾–6 inches long and ¼–½ inches broad, with densely packed spikelets. Stamen (pollen producing part) are pink. Flower from June until September.

Sweet Vernal


Also known as holy grass, vanilla grass or buffalo grass. Short rootstocks. Tufted stems, usually 30 to 60cm long. Shoots are aromatic, like new-mown hay. Taste similar to caramel. Leaves are short but broad, flat, bright-green, and hairy (especially near the base). Flower spikes are 4–6 cm (1.6–2.4 in) long. Spikelets are crowded; can be quite dark when young. Flower from April until June.

June Grass


Short, tuft-forming bunchgrass, 20–70 cm (8-28 in) in height. Leaves are basal, medium green to greyish blue, flat to somewhat involute. Flower spike is nearly cylindrical and may taper somewhat toward the tip. It holds shiny tan spikelets which are sometimes purple tinted.



Fine-leaved, somtimes mat-forming or tufted. Leaves are dull green. Flower spikes are open and loose, of green or purplish color. Spikelets are densely clustered. Flower from June to August.



Also known as cock’s-foot or cocksfoot grasses. Form dense tussocks of 15–140 cm (6-55in) tall. Stems have a flattened base. Distinctive tufted triangular flowerheads comprise a flowering stem of 10–15 cm (4-6 in) long, turning pale grey-brown at seed maturity. Spikelets are 5–9 mm long, typically containing two to five flowers.

Meadow Fescue


Tall, tufted grass. Grow 30–120 cm (12–47 in). Leaves are bright green. Flower spikes are green to purplish. Spikelets have 5 to 14 flowers. Flower from June until August.



Grown extensively as a grain and as a forage crop. A member of the wheat tribe, closely related to barley and wheat. Loosely to densely tufted. Leaf blades are flat or folded, glossy, dark green and hairless. Flower spikes are green or purple, symmetrical. Spikelets alternate up the axis. Flower between May and July.

Kentucky Bluegrass


Also known as smooth meadow-grass, or common meadow-grass. Pasture plant, also used for making lawns. Leaves are broad and blunt, smooth or slightly roughened, tend to spread at the base, forming close mats. Flower spikes are 5–20 cm (2–8 in) long, with 3 to 5 branches in the basal whorls. Spikelets are oval with 2 to 5 flowers, and are purplish-green or grey. Flower from May to July.

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