What is this plant thing?
July 18, 2007 12:22 PM   Subscribe

What on earth is this plant like thing ?

My friend posted that to her blog, and I googled around with various combinations of succulent, seed pod and spikey with no luck.. I haven't seen it in person, but my best guess would be a succulent and/or a seed pod of some sort. It was found in the SF East Bay Hills, if that helps.
posted by cftarnas to Home & Garden (7 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: looks kind of like a mutant sweetgum fruit...kind of.
posted by dan g. at 12:31 PM on July 18, 2007

These are all over the bay area, and they come from trees. I remember needing to collect a bunch of them a long time ago for a photo shoot where we were trying to emulate allergens (with some serious photochopping magic).
posted by iamkimiam at 12:32 PM on July 18, 2007

I second the sweetgum. It looks like still green gumballs that have somehow grown fused. Seeing as how plants often fuse parts, especially in fast growing parts like gumballs, I don't see this as a particularly bizarre result.
posted by Pollomacho at 1:29 PM on July 18, 2007

Mutant version of a California Sycamore seedpod?
posted by Asparagirl at 1:29 PM on July 18, 2007

I agree that it looks just like a mutant sweetgum pod.
posted by OmieWise at 1:36 PM on July 18, 2007

It may not be natural. The herbicide glyphosate (Roundup) in sub-lethal doses can cause plants to grow fused parts.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 5:15 PM on July 18, 2007

Thank you all for inadvertently answering a question I had not asked: as a non-native to Southern California, I have a yard full of what I now know to be Sweetgum fruit, but never knew what they were called.
posted by davejay at 10:12 PM on July 18, 2007

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