The 27th June 2015 marks “International Ragweed Day” to increase understanding and awareness of the problem this invasive weed causes all over the world. Common ragweed, Ambrosia artemisiifolia, is a worldwide invasive weed originating from North America, causing great damage to society via its highly allergenic pollen (typically from August to October in the Northern Hemisphere), and as a hard--to--control crop weed, with a recently estimated cost of c. 4.5 billion Euro per year for Europe. Climate change and ragweed seed dispersal will further increase airborne concentrations of ragweed pollen by a factor of four until 2050, thereby heightening the incidence and prevalence of ragweed allergy.
The EU-COST Action (FA1203) 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 in this project that serves as a model for implementing integrated control measures against invasive alien species across Europe.
The first Saturday of the summer was chosen for the International Ragweed Day because it is early in the growing season of the plant and thereby gives enough time for the preparation of actions.