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Mountain Cedar (Juniperus ashei), is a drought-tolerant evergreen tree, native to northeastern Mexico and the south-central United States. Although commonly called a cedar, it is actually a member of the Juniper family. It’s one of the many trees that produce pollen, a very common allergen.

Basic Information about Mountain Cedar
Plant description: Mountain Cedar grows up to 33 feet tall, and rarely over 49 feet, and provides erosion control and year-round shade for wildlife and livestock. The feathery foliage grows in dense sprays, bright green in color. The leaves are scale-like, rounded shoots, 2 to 5 millimetres long.
It is a dioecious species, which means there are separate male and female plants. The female seed cones are round, soft, pulpy and berry-like, green at first, maturing purple about 8 months after pollination. They contain 1-2 seeds, which are dispersed when birds eat the cones and pass the seeds in their droppings. The male cones are 3-5 mm long, yellow, turning brown after pollen release in December to February.
Allergy type: Non-food allergy, tree pollen allergy
Habitat: Mountain Cedar are widely found in Montana. The junipers often establish in overgrazed lands, as they are multi-trunked, and shallow rooted, and they can thrive on rocky hillsides with shallow soil. Cattle selectively remove competition when they avoid the bitter-tasting juniper seedlings, and this makes it difficult for remaining grasses to compete for water, especially if they are still being grazed and the soils are impoverished.
Allergy season: Late fall, winter.
Allergic reactions: mild to severe, depending on the pollen count and the body’s sensitivity
Mountain Cedar Allergy Causes
The main source of Mountain Cedar allergy is the pollen it gives off. This pollen is airborne and is so small, they are inhaled without a person realizing it.
The male Mountain Cedar produces and release the pollen from it’s cones in December. The wind carries the pollen away from the plants and it continues to linger on the environment until Spring.
Although the allergy is usually rampant during the winter, there is also a small chance of getting allergy symptoms during other seasons.
Tree pollen, in general, is regional and seasonal, according to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Tree pollen count is affected by several factors such as time of the day, weather and season.
Mountain Cedar Allergy Symptoms
As with other allergies, an individual’s reaction depends on how his immune system will react. Below is the list of common symptoms:

  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Asthma
  • Fever
  • Sneezing
  • Itchy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Watery eyes
  • Puffed eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Difficulty in breathing
Tips For Preventing Mountain Cedar Allergy Symptoms
  • Stay indoors from 5:00 AM to 10:00 AM, as this is when the pollen count is highest. Leave outdoor activities until 5:00 PM, or after a heavy rain. You can get a pollen count reports from other websites, though they are not accurate to the hour.
  • Always keep your home and car windows closed. This lessens their exposure to pollen. Avoid window and attic fans as they will draw air from outside of your house, which may be contaminated with pollen.
  • Use a dryer for your clothes. If you hang them outside, pollen can attach on your clothes. This will expose you and your house to the allergens.
  • Regularly bathe your pets. Pollen could also be attached to them.
  • Minimize your alcohol intake. A study from the National Institute of Public Health in Denmark last 2008 found a relation between alcohol and the allergy. Women who drank alcohol every week increased their susceptibility to the allergy by 3%. Alcohol also dehydrates the body, which can make the nasal symptoms worse.
Mountain Cedar Allergy Treatment Options
  • Antihistamines
  • Oral Steroids
  • Injectable Steroids
  • Eyedrops
  • Allergen Immunotherapy – See if it is right for you