Video of Poplar Flowers Shared as a ‘Worm Rain’ Hitting China

Khadija Boufous Khadija Boufous
13th March 2023
Video of Poplar Flowers Shared as a ‘Worm Rain’ Hitting China
The video features Poplar flowers not worms (Twitter)

The Claim

The video shows a “worm storm” recently hitting China.

Emerging story

Social media users have circulated a video claiming it shows a “worm storm” recently hitting China. The clip shows a row of parked cars covered with small cylindrical objects while pedestrians walk down the street holding umbrellas. 

“Odd video as China citizens told to find shelter after it started to rain worms,” a Twitter account posted.

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Media outlets also shared the claim, including the New York Post.

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For other social media users, this “strange rain of worms followed the day China brokered a deal between Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Misbar’s Analysis

Misbar investigated the claim and found it to be misleading. The video does not show a “worm rain” in China.

The Video Shows Poplar Flowers, Not Worms

Misbar’s team conducted an advanced search about the alleged “worm rain” and did not find credible Chinese sources reporting the incident. Meanwhile, local officials have not commented on the viral video yet.

Some users commented on the viral video citing that no such thing happened in China recently. Others suggested that the video features cars covered with dead poplar flowers, not worms.

The video also shows pedestrians walking down the street peacefully holding umbrellas since, it seems, the weather was rainy. However, it is a sign that nothing weird or abnormal was happening.

We examined the objects falling and covering the cars and found that they were not moving. They are poplar flower spikes falling from the trees. The flowers, which resemble elongated insects, are often misrepresented as caterpillars.

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Photo Description: Images of Pillars fallen from the trees (East Day)
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Photo Description: Caterpillars (Getty)

According to Chinese outlets, these clusters look like caterpillars. Flowers on poplar trees (Populus) are long, drooping clusters of tiny flowers called catkins growing in a slender conical form. An identifying feature of most poplar trees is the cotton-like, fuzzy substance growing after flowers have bloomed to protect the seeds. They are harmless to the human body. However, allergic people should pay attention to these flowers when walking.

Although no trees can be seen on the sidewalk featured in the video, the clusters may be carried by the strong wind. And as shown in this viral video, the flowers can also stick to car windows when it rains, similarly in the viral video.

Iran and Saudi-Arabia’s Agreement 

The claim surfaced after Saudi Arabia agreed with Iran to restore diplomatic relations and reopen their embassies within two months, Iranian and Saudi media outlets announced.

“After implementing the decision, the foreign ministers of both nations will meet to prepare for an exchange of ambassadors,” Iranian state television said.

The Saudi Press Agency confirmed the agreement and said the two countries had agreed to respect state sovereignty and not interfere in each other’s internal affairs.

According to the statement, Riyadh and Tehran had agreed to activate a security cooperation agreement signed in 2001.

The deal, which was reached on March 10 during talks in Beijing, was also considered a major diplomatic triumph for China.

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