Leaving the ragweeds we come to the Composites which comprise the largest plant family in the vegetable kingdom. They too have a finger in the hay fever pie. Fortunately for hay fever sufferers only one branch of this family, namely the wormwoods, are an important cause of hay fever. Their representatives are the sage brushes and mugworts. Were it not for these plants many regions in the western mountains would be hay fever-free.
The sages grow abundantly in the mountainous areas of the western part of the Rocky Mountains. Their pollens produce typically severe autumn hay fever symptoms which are called mountain fever in these localities.
The common sage brush by its prevalence in many dry and semi-arid regions makes even the desert areas dangerous to hay fever sufferers.
In the pacific-coast states of Oregon, California and Arizona the species of sage known as mugworts, are an important cause of hay fever. Many an uninformed east-ern sufferer has traveled across the continent only to be met by the pollens of mountain sage and mugwort in Colorado and California.
The sages grow as shrubs and average three to four feet in height. Where the soil is favorable they grow as small trees, twelve to fifteen feet tall. In general the sages pollinate from July to October.