A Sydney woman was baffled after discovering what she thought were jellyfish in her front yard, despite living some 1km away from the closest body of water.
Maruschka Loupis from Como in Sydney's south first noticed the strange, gel-like substance three weeks ago, but the downpour of torrential rain has caused more to appear.
"They look and feel like a firm, rubbery paperweight. Like a jelly blubber. You can press on them and they spring back," she told Yahoo News Australia.
"It's definitely a sea creature. If it's not from the sea, no idea what they are?!"
Social media baffled by strange find
While the notion that a sea creature could end up in the front yard of her suburban home seems odd, gushing rain and devastating floods have caused wildlife, cattle and marine life to be forcibly displaced.
Ms Loupis was not the only one who spotted the unsightly goop. People across Sydney say they have dodged it on footpaths and roads across the city.
Like Ms Loupis, they've taken to the internet to find out what it is, and there's a very reasonable explanation.
'Jellyfish' goop explained
"My guess is that this is from flame bottle tree seed pods," Professor Culum Brown from Macquarie University told Yahoo News Australia.
"At this time of year the seeds are very nearly ripe, but if they are attacked by boring insects and the rain gets into them, they ooze this amazing jelly-like substance."
The Illawarra Flame Tree bursts with colour during summer and can be found along the east coast of Australia.
Brett Summerell, Chief Botanist with the Australian Institute of Botanical Science, explained the sap on the trees absorb the excess rainwater which eventually causes damage to the branches causing it fall to the ground.
"There are reports that the gel can be caustic and even lift the paint off cars so it is best to wash it off surfaces with a hose and not touch it with bare skin," he warned.
Ms Loupis explained she's found some near her front door, some distance from the closest tree, but Professor Brown said birds such as cockatoos can often pick them up and carry them.
Ms Loupis said she does have an Illawarra flame tree in her yard but still finds the phenomenon "very odd."
Other people suggested it could have been eggs or fungi, with few people guessing the Flame Bottle Tree is to blame.
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