I hope someone can anyone identify this plant material found in a meadow beside a river in UK. The nearest trees are about 50m away, across the river.

It is about 10cm long; flattish, soft and fleshy. There is a suggestion of a stalk at one end. It's been trodden on, so it might be squashed.

The first two pictures show it from each side, the third is a detail of the second side.

My searches have variously suggested

  • A caterpillar.

  • A gall from a hornbeam tree.

  • A seed pod of a mangolia tree.

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  • 1
    It makes me think of a rhizome of a small water lilly, but I only have the picture to go by.
    – Willeke
    Commented Jun 10 at 19:06
  • @Willeke that's an interesting suggestion. Perhaps it looked like the linked picture once, before being beaten up and had insect eggs laid in it. Commented Jun 10 at 19:15
  • Weather Vane, if comparing the item you have with descriptions of rhizomes bring you to a positive identification, can you please post it as a self answer?
    – Willeke
    Commented Jun 10 at 20:35
  • 1
    Magnolia sprang to mind for me too; definitely not caterpillar. I don't think the "stalk" is really a stalk
    – bob1
    Commented Jun 10 at 20:49
  • 1
    @bob1 certainly not a caterpillar. If it's a rhizome the 'stalk' is more likely to be a root. The two sides look different, and in the alamy link the roots are coming from one side. Perhaps the pock-marks are root nodes and not insect exit holes. Commented Jun 10 at 21:08


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