Tuesday, July 09, 2013

A natural mystery

The other day Claire picked this up in the backyard under the lime tree.

A (very) simple question : what (on earth) is it?

Is it animal, vegetable, or mineral?  I find it impossible to say!

Here's all I can tell you; it's about 5 cm long, seems to be punctured at one end, and seems to be formed of tightly bound fibres.  It has no perceptible smell. We couldn't find any tree or bush it might have fallen from.


  1. Well, THAT'S a challenge! Obviously looks like a seed pod of sorts...or a hairy kiwi - ha ha. Have you opened it yet? Is it hard or squishy?

  2. It is rather firm but not hard. It seems to feel "empty" and I can find no sign of seeds or any other material other than what you can see here.

    It is without a doubt the strangest natural thing I think I've ever seen!

  3. Have you opened it yet? Goodness knows what you might find...

  4. Hi Dad,

    Me and Raph and the kids have the solution to your mystery on your blog! I still don't know how to add a comment so I will have to explain it the old fashion way, the old email!!!
    This funny ball was gathered on the beach in Sardenia, we had actually brought the same thing back from Malta years ago!
    I'm not quite sure what it is but Raph might be able to tell you better! It seems to me it is some kind of dry algae but I'm not sure! At least I know where it came from!
    We have more in our storage room if anyone wants to do further study of it!
    Well, have a good day everybody and thanks for your ever interesting, amusing and challenging blog Daddy!

  5. Well, isn't THAT interesting! Good job Camille was able to enlighten us because, for the life of me, I have been wracking my brain as to what this could be. However, I still had to dig a bit deeper (what better to do on a slow night shift?) and I believe this may be a Marimo ball. If you do a web search and look at the images, it does bear resemblance. An algae ball, it apparently turns brown when it "dies" or isn't in the light. What do you think? Is that what it is?