These snapshots of “deformed mutant daisies” are making the rounds online this week, four years after the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan.
Beginning on March 11, 2011, an unknown quantity of radiation leaked in a series of accidents at the the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant site, after the Tohoku earthquake and a deadly tsunami.
Twitter user @San_kaido this week posted the daisy snapshots from Nasushiobara city, a little over 100 kilometers from Fukushima.
“The right one grew up, split into 2 stems to have 2 flowers connected each other, having 4 stems of flower tied belt-like,” @san_kaido tweeted. “The left one has 4 stems grew up to be tied to each other and it had the ring-shaped flower. The atmospheric dose is 0.5 μSv/h at 1m above the ground.”
According to gardening experts the abnormal growth that distorts the heads of daisies and other wildflowers is caused by hormonal imbalance. Called fasciation (or cresting) is a relatively rare condition of abnormal growth in vascular plants. Fasciation may cause plant parts to increase in weight and volume.
Does all of this mean that radiation leaks from Fukushima caused the deformity? No.
As Snopes notes, there are plenty of other images Googleable around the web that show similar deformities in daisies in areas where no such radiation leaks are known to have occurred--like, say, Holland. So, could be random pretty mutant flowers. Or, could be radiation. We don't know.
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