27 June 2015 – Today is International Ragweed Day, a day to increase awareness and understanding of the problems that this invasive weed causes all over the world.

Common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, is a worldwide invasive weed originating from North-America. It causes a great deal of suffering to people as a result of its highly allergenic pollen, which is typically released from August to October in the Northern Hemisphere. The first Saturday of summer was chosen as International Ragweed Day, due to it being early in the ragweed growing season.

Ragweed is a hard-to-control crop weed. It was recently estimated that it costs around 4.5 billion Euros each year to manage in Europe. It is anticipated that the impacts of climate change will further increase airborne concentrations of ragweed pollen by four times until 2050, heightening the incidence and prevalence of ragweed allergy.

The EU-COST Action on Sustainable management of Ambrosia artemisiifolia in Europe (SMARTER) was launched in 2012 with the aim of initiating and coordinating long-term management options to reduce ragweed in Europe. More than 250 scientists from 33 countries collaborate on this project, which serves as a model for implementing integrated control measures against invasive alien species across Europe.

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