Cars and streets covered with ‘worms’ that rained from the skies in Chinese city.
Flowers of the Poplar tree, that shed before the new leaves come in summer, mistaken for worms.
A video showing multiple roofs and bonnets of parked vehicles covered by what appears to be thick, thread-like organisms, has gone viral on social media. Some claimed that the incident happened in Beijing, while another asserted that the footage showing ‘worm rain’ is from the Liaoning province. Users said that following “this astonishing incident,” Chinese officials have recommended locals find shelter. However, Newschecker has found the assertion to be incorrect.
Several verified handles, including the news outlet Insider Paper, were among those who shared the video claiming that China recently witnessed a “rain of worms.”
Such posts can be seen here, here, here, here, and here.
A report by Times Of India carried the viral footage with the title ‘ ‘Worm Rain’ in China: Video goes viral,’ however, the anchor is heard saying that the veracity of the video is yet to be verified.
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On scanning the comment section of one of the posts that carried the viral footage, we spotted a reply by Chinese journalist Shen Shiwei calling out the video as “fake”.
“I’m in Beijing and this video is fake. Beijing hasn’t got rainfall these days”, he tweeted.
Another Twitter handle @Vxujianing also called the Insider Paper’s post on “worm rain in China” as Fake News.
“The things that fall from poplar trees in spring are not caterpillars, but inflorescences (flower clusters) of poplar trees. When poplar flower spikes start to fall, it means that they are about to bloom…”, the comment read.
The tweet also carried a series of photographs that gave a closer look at inflorescence of poplar trees scattered on the ground, and the bonnet of a car.
Twitter user @yuzhinoksana also stated, “Those are Poplar tree seeds, which to be fair, looks like worms from afar. (sic)”
In a tweet dated March 11, 2023, @journoturk called the claims of “worm rain in China” as the “fake news of the week,” adding, “Thousands of newspapers, TV channels and news sites all over the world shared that fake news: China Pummeled (pummelled) By Rain Of Worms. NO it was not rain of worms ❌❌ In fact those things on the cars were leaves as U can see from the video below.(sic)”
The post carried a video of cars parked under trees, with their upper parts covered in inflorescence, similar to that seen in the viral clip.
Furthermore, a report by CGTN, dated May 8, 2019, featured an image of catkins (flowers) of black poplar that looked identical to the “worms” seen in the viral video.
Poplars are dioecious plants, meaning the male and female flowers grow on separate trees. The flowers bloom in drooping catkins (pendulous unisexual flower clusters) before the leaves emerge to aid wind pollination.
Other images of the inflorescence of poplar trees can be seen here, here and here.
We could thus conclude that the viral video shared to claim that it’s raining worms in China is false. The clip actually shows catkins, or inflorescence, of poplar trees scattered on the surface of cars and roads, and not worms.
Tweet By Shen Shiwei, Dated March 10, 2023
Tweet By @Vxujianing, Dated March 11, 2023
Tweet By @yuzhinoksana, Dated March 12, 2023
Tweet By @journoturk, Dated March 11, 2023
Report by CGTN, dated May 8, 2019
(The article was originally published in Newschecker Tamil by Vijayalakshmi Balasubramaniyan)
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