Kapok tree fluff is all over Canberra during Spring... ANU student Linda Ma, 19, of Burgmann college has the theory that if you leave your studying until there's fluff in air it's too late for exams. Photo: Katherine Griffiths
Reports of a mass outbreak of study at Australian National University appear to have been greatly exaggerated, despite the early arrival of Canberra’s springtime fluff.
The academic adage goes that students might be in trouble if they haven’t started studying when the fluff, shed by deciduous white poplar trees, starts flying in late October.
Flowers from the tree - also known as Populous alba - turn to springtime flying fluff which spreads across the city’s south and the ANU campus.
Kapok tree fluff is all over Canberra during Spring. Photo: Katherine Griffiths
Maligned as the falling fluff and the coming of the fluff, some think it adds to the character and conversation of Canberra.
First year development studies student Linda Ma said the fluff was nothing but a social myth.
‘‘On Monday and Tuesday last week, everyone on campus was talking about the fluff because it was around in just incredible quantities but no one was too worried about what implications it would have on their study,’’ she said.
‘‘I think normally it comes in mid to late October but this year it was a couple of weeks early and since there is so much of it in Union Court and across the campus it's an obvious talking point.’’
Ms Ma said not many of her peers were ready for the upcoming exam period, which begins on November 7.
‘‘People talk about the fluff right from the beginning of the academic year,’’ she said.
‘‘When you start they tell you watch out in October or November because the fluff will arrive and that’s when you know if you haven’t already started [studying for exams] you might be screwed.
‘‘If the myth was accurate, I don’t think anyone would pass their exams.’’
‘‘I think it might have come from a period when the final exams meant a lot more to your academic results and when people had to do a large chunk of exams all in a short period.’’
Coinciding with with peak hay fever season in the capital, the impact of the fluff is disputed.
Hay fever sufferers putting up with sneezing, watery eyes, a runny nose, itchy ears and nose and throats.
For some sufferers, hay fever symptoms can be as bad as to prevent sleep or concentration, leading to tiredness and ongoing illness.
The peak hay fever period continues until December 31.