'Mutant daisies' found near Japan nuclear meltdown site
An image showing a cluster of humble daisies is making waves on the internet. It has led to fears that they could be radioactive mutants.
But don't panic, horticultural experts say, this will not lead to a sequel of The Day of the Triffids.
The picture was taken in May, 70 miles from Fukushima, where a 2011 earthquake and tsunami caused the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl in Russia.
Four years on, anxiety remains high about leaked radioactive materials affecting the people, animals and plants living near the site.
The blooms show signs of being distinctly unusual, owing to deformities including fused flowers and stems.
Deformities could be caused by a process called 'fasciation'
The strange appearance of these daisies may, however, have nothing at all to do with the nuclear radiation leaks.
Some plants and flowers have flattened, elongated shoots and flower heads that look like many stems pressed together due to a condition called fasciation, the Royal Horticultural Society points out.
However, it does note: "Fasciation is unpredictable and is usually limited to a single stem."
Fasciation can be caused by a random genetic mutation or disruption, bacterium or damage by animals or frost.
Beth Krizek, a biologist at the University of South Carolina, said: "I don't think people should freak out. They're not that unusual."
Eileen Hughes contacted the Huffington Post to reveal similarly deformed daisies had grown in her Pembrokeshire garden two summers ago - a location not known for its exposure to nuclear radiation leaks.