A photo of ‘mutant daisies’ spotted near Japan’s Fukushima nuclear power plant four years after an historic earthquake and subsequent meltdown has gone viral online.
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 image was snapped by Twitter user @san_kaido in Nasushiobara City, which lies about 100 kilometres from Fukushima.
When translated, @san_kaido’s tweet says the daisies have been exposed to radiation from Fukushima since March 2011, according to The Weather Channel.
“The atmospheric dose is 0.5 μSv/h at 1m above the ground,” the tweet says, referencing the radiation dose per hour present at the site where the photo was taken.
Officials have classified the area as safe for “medium to long-term” habitation.
The photo of the daisies, which was uploaded in late May, has received hundreds of shares on Twitter and generated plenty of conversation about radiation exposure.
The flowers appear to be afflicted with a condition called “fasciation” or “cresting” and, while rare, this type of mutation has been spotted in daisies in other parts of the world in areas that haven’t been exposed to radiation.
Possible causes of cresting include hormonal or genetic defects, bacterial or fungal infection or environmental causes.
A powerful earthquake and subsequent tsunami in March 2011 crippled Japan’s Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, leading to the eventual meltdown of three of its six nuclear reactors.
Four years after the disaster, contaminated water continues to leak into the Pacific Ocean, while elevated radiation levels impact nearby communities.