What are those white, fluffy objects floating around?

Hampden County

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Lately, it’s been hard to ignore the fluffy, white objects floating around the air in western Massachusetts. They can even accumulate enough on the ground to look like fluffy snow.

But they are actually poplar seed pods. There are roughly 30 different kinds of trees that are considered poplar trees. And it’s the female trees that release these seeds to be carried by the wind.

While there are plenty of seeds around the area right now, especially in parts of Forest Park, some locals say they’ve been worse before.

“Last year a couple of times it looked like it was snowing in the ball fields, it was so bad,” Dan Kelly of East Longmeadow. “This is nothing.”

Each poplar tree can produce millions of seeds every year. Cottonwood trees belong to the same genus as other poplar trees, and they produce seeds with a fluffy, white casing.

Cottonwoods most often release seeds in May and June.

While the seeds are technically not pollen, they can still set off allergic reactions for people who do have outdoor allergies. 

Some other poplars include the silver and balsam poplar trees, but those trees don’t usually release their seeds until the end of June.

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