(Pictured above: Fasciated White Mule's Ear flower photographed in Island Park, Idaho)
Facebook and Twitter are great places to discover the latest and strangest news, but over the past few years, they're also great places to fall for the latest hoax. This one isn't malicious, it's just a mistake, but it's still not true.
People online are freaking out about mutated daisies near the Fukushima power plant in Japan, which suffered a disastrous meltdown in 2011. A Twitter user in Japan who uses the handle @san_kaido posted a photo of some deformed daisies in Nasushiobara City, less than 100 miles from the Fukushima site.
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 tweet also reports a radiation level of 0.5 μSieverts per hour, a higher-than-normal amount. But scientists say that's not enough radiation to cause plants to mutate.
The answer lies in a natural phenomenon called fasciation. Fasciation can occur any time basic plant cells, called meristem cells, are killed off by things like drought, injury to the plant, bacteria or viruses. You've likely seen fasciation mutations before in plants or fruit or vegetables you've purchased from a greenhouse or farmer's market.
The Fukushima radiation causing daisy mutations story is compelling but inaccurate; in this case nature is the actual culprit rather than a nuclear meltdown.
There are plenty of things on Facebook you shouldn't fall for, especially scams. Here are five dangerous scams spreading on Facebook right now that you need to avoid.