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A spotted plant is making its mark at a Texas state park. Employees at Atlanta State Park, located southwest of Texarkana, posted a photo of a white fluffy ball covered in bright pink spots to their Facebook page Tuesday morning, reported My San Antonio (US).
"Ranger Steve made a cool discovery this morning," they said. "Is it a natural lollipop? Is it a flower designed by Dr. Seuss?
The spotted ball is the product of a wool sower wasp nest, they said. When a wool sower wasp lays its eggs in a white oak tree, and they hatch in the spring, and produce a white, spotted fluff called a wool sower gall.
The Facebook post has been shared more than 1,000 times and is filled with dozens of comments.
"Awesome! I've never ever seen anything like this," one said.
The park said the seed pod, which from afar resembles a dandelion flower before it blooms, is not, in fact, a creation of Dr. Suess: It’s actually a wool sower gall. Galls are abnormal plant growths caused by organisms such as insects, fungi or bacteria, reported CBS News (US).
“These are created when a wool sower wasp lays its eggs in a white oak,” the park explained. “When the eggs hatch in spring, chemicals on the grubs stimulate the plant to produce this gall, which provides food and protection for the growing wasps.”
Atlanta State Park superintendent Sam Knox told CBS News it’s not technically a plant, but rather a seed pod for non-stinging wasps. Female wasps lay a clutch of eggs on the bottom sides of leaves and it grows into a gall.
“I’ve never seen one specifically like this,” Knox said. “It’s very unique, and very early in the year.”
Wool sower galls usually start popping up around May or June, but due to a mild winter, Knox expects to see some even earlier this year.
“They don’t all look that elongated in shape,” Knox said. “This one was about the size of a ping pong ball. I’ve never see one with red spots like that. It’s awesome to see and very unique.”
show source http://www.mysanantonio.com/lifestyle/travel-outdoors/article/Strange-flower-Dr-Seuss-spotted-in-Texas-park-11003508.php http://www.cbsnews.com/news/mysterious-dr-suess-flower-spotted-in-texas-wildlife-park/