Something weird is happening in Japan.
Four years after the deadly nuclear incident in Fukushima, photographs of deformed daisies have appeared on social media. The images were uploaded by Twitter user @san_kaido, who says he found the flowers in Nasushiobara City, which is located 100 km away from the original disaster site.
“The atmospheric dose is 0.5 μSv/h at 1m above the ground,” the translated tweet says, referring to the radiation dose per hour present at the site where the photo was taken. It also describes some of the flower’s mutations that you can’t immediately see.
マーガレットの帯化(那須塩原市5/26)② 右は４つの花茎が帯状に繋がったまま成長し，途中で２つに別れて２つの花がつながって咲いた。左は４つの花茎がそのまま成長して繋がって花が咲き輪の様になった。空間線量0.5μSv地点(地上高1m) pic.twitter.com/MinxdFgXBC
— 三悔堂 (@san_kaido) May 27, 2015
The flower on the right “split into 2 stems to have 2 flowers connected” to each other, while “the left one has 4 stems…”
The flowers appear to be undergoing a condition called fasciation (or cresting), where abnormal growth occurs in one part of the plant, producing elaborately contorted tissue. The condition is usually caused by hormonal, genetic, bacterial or fungal causes, but the environment (i.e. radiation) can certainly trigger it as well.
— 三悔堂 (@san_kaido) June 21, 2015
For those who are unaware, a devastating tsunami collided with the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in 2011, leading to the shutdown of three of its six nuclear reactors. Thousands of people have since been killed as a result. Japan, meanwhile, is still struggling to contain the disaster, as even now contaminated water continues to leak into the Pacific Ocean.
If nothing else, these flowers certainly demonstrate just how harmful all that radiation can be.