No, fairy magic is not the reason for this stunning phenomenon.

It’s common knowledge that you can tell a tree’s age by its growth rings. Look at a cross section of the trunk, count the rings, and you’ll know how many years old the tree is.

So imagine the shock when a friend of Japanese Twitter user @kinjiro7106’s coworker chopped down a tree and discovered it to be “rose years old.”

Okay, so maybe its age was peony years old. Either way though, that definitely looks like an illustrated flower concealed at the tree’s core, as though it were a physically manifested metaphor for the artistic spirit, and the amazing sight has prompted reactions such as:

“Amazing. It’s like a miracle.”
“That would make a really awesome desk.”
“It’s like the tree has a tattoo!”
“I think it looks like a turtle.”
“This reminds me of Kintaro Ame [the Japanese candy with illustrated cross sections].”
“I know this…it’s the mark showing the entrance to the fairy realm, which appears only once every 300 years in the forest on the night of the full moon.”

As whimsical as that last theory is, the truth is a lot less ethereal, and quite a bit grosser. As explained in this tweet from botany enthusiast @kusaiyajingoku

what we’re seeing in the cross section of the tree aren’t the petals of a flower, but actually fungus colonies. Basically, there were a bunch of mushrooms growing inside the tree, devouring it from the inside, and the lines are simply the borders between the fighting fungi factions competing for territory.

While it’s a phenomenon most people don’t know about, it’s not entirely without precedent, as shown in these photos from back in December.

So no, there’s no magic at work here, just super-efficient survival science. But on the other hand, who knew fungus could be so beautiful?

Source: Twitter/@kinjiro7106 via Hachima Kiko
Top image: Pakutaso
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