gingko treeJane C. Hu (@jane_c_hu) was awarded an honorable mention in the journalism category in the 2022 NSWA Best of the Northwest Awards for her story in Slate on “botanical sexism,” which the judges said was “a great example of a fun and interesting debunking article.” The idea behind this term is that allergies are so widespread because cities have planted a preponderance of pollen-producing male trees to avoid the mess of seed- and fruit-producing females. Promoted largely by a single man, the idea has gained traction in the media and on TikTok, but it doesn’t have a strong scientific basis. Talking to the idea’s originator, a prominent critic, and an independent expert, Hu takes a nuanced look at the evidence and highlights the cultural factors that may have contributed to the idea taking off in the popular imagination. Photo: David J. Stang via Wikimedia Commons