Let’s talk about botanical sexism

400-Years-Harriet-Tubman-sits-under-500-yr-old-tree-by-Wanda-2-1400x1050, <strong>Let’s talk about botanical sexism</strong>, World News & Views
Botanical sexism has kept our allergies high and fresh fruit growing on our streets almost nonexistent – Photo: by Wanda

by Xion Abiodun

Springtime is approaching and you know what that means – allergy season. Have you been struggling with allergies all your life? Did you used to not have allergies when you were younger, but have them now since you have gotten older? And finally, do you ever wonder why your allergies seem to get worse every year? This is because of botanical sexism.

Botanical Sexism is when male trees are the only trees being planted rather than male and female trees. Now let’s not forget that there are three genders of trees: female, male, and intersex (male and female), but because of botanical sexism male trees are the ones being planted the most. 

This creates an imbalance in the environment causing allergies to get worse every year because male trees produce pollen and female trees produce fruit. For everything in the environment to function properly there has to be a balance between male and female trees. Without balance in the environment, the imbalance will cause a major disruption in people’s and animals’ day-to-day lives. 

This happened because in the 1940s when neighborhoods were being designed, the USDA ( The United States Department of Agriculture) Yearbook of Agriculture published: “When used for street plantings, only male trees should be selected, to avoid the nuisance from the seed.” 

This was said to have been good advice because then our streets would not be messy from fruit falling all over them. But multiple people have speculated that it is really because of capitalism, and if there were fruit trees in every neighborhood then people would get their fruit for free. If there were fruit trees in every neighborhood, this would cause less money to be spent on the economy. 

This caused only male trees to be planted in urban areas across the country. This is why allergy season seems to get worse every year. It will only keep getting worse unless we the people take action by planting female trees. But since this has been going on for so long we would have to plant a majority of female trees in urban neighborhoods for at least 80 years to see an environmental balance between male and female trees, causing allergies to be almost nonexistent. 

This news is not all doom and gloom though, individuals can help combat this environmental issue! You can start to fix this problem by planting female trees in your backyard or your neighborhood. 

I have been dealing with allergies my entire life and know how frustrating allergies can be during springtime. Personally, I would take the female fruit trees in urban communities “making a mess on the street” rather than allergies any day, and I am sure anyone else who has dealt with allergies their entire life would too! Hopefully, by making this issue well known, we will get to fix it within our lifetime, so we can live a sniffle-free life. 

Xion Abiodun is a student of the San Francisco Bay View’s Community Journalism Class, which is funded by the California State Library.