Garden trees stoke allergies

The trend of planting small Leyland Cypress trees in Athenian gardens is fueling a rise in the number of people suffering from hay fever and asthma, medical experts said yesterday ahead of a conference in Athens today. Hellenic Society of Allergology and Clinical Immunology President Kalliopi Kontou-Fili and the head of the Athens Medical Society, Christos Iatrou, said that other places with similar climates to Greece have recently experienced a rise in the number of sufferers largely due to the introduction of small cypress trees. Up to 25 percent of Greeks are troubled by hay fever and almost 10 percent suffer from asthma. Kontou-Fili added that last year’s wildfires around Attica have exacerbated the problem, as the trees that burned were not those likely to cause allergies, while the weeds and shrubs that will grow in their place could cause more pollen to be released into the city’s atmosphere.