Mutant daisy found at Thurso golf course
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A THURSO man came across an extremely rare phenomenon while taking his daily lockdown exercise yesterday afternoon.
Twenty-one year old Oakley Cundall's eye was caught by the unusual sight of a mutated daisy as he walked along Thurso golf course.
"I was walking through the golf course on my daily quarantine walk when I happened to glance down and see it," Oakley said.
"I quickly took a photo before deciding to pick it, for fear that it may be mowed by the time I came back next."
Oakley said he had no idea how rare the deformity was but he found the daisy "truly fascinating" so took it home.
The head of the daisy appears elongated by about three times its usual size and the stem is flattened out "like a ribbon" and much wider than normal.
The phenomenon is very rare and known as fasciation or cresting. It can be caused by hormonal imbalances in the plant, due to random genetic mutation, bacterial infection or exposure to chemicals.
After radiation leaked from Japan's Fukushima nuclear power plant following a tsunami in March 2011, photographs were shared on social media of similar daisies to the one Oakley found.
The images went viral and many speculated on Twitter that radiation had caused the mutations in Japan.
A National Geographic article later downplayed that theory, stating that there were many other possible causes and that background radiation in the area was minimal anyway.
The rare condition has been recorded in more than 100 types of plant across the world and probably affects many more which have not been found yet.
Oakley said: "It could be caused by hormonal imbalances in the plant, due to random genetic mutation, bacterial infection or exposure to chemicals."
Ruling out any nuclear contamination, a possible explanation could involve the town's refuse dump, which was sited in the area, and toxic chemicals leaching from its remains into the soil.
Oakley is looking into ways of preserving his rare find.
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