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I found this strange bur on a stray cat in my neighborhood. I've never seen anything like it, and Google reverse image search thinks it's an earring. Found in in northern California, just south of Clearlake. (38.90 N, 122.60 W)

The spike structure is almost exactly one inch long.

<img src="https://imgur.com/f4veMft" width="240" height="480">

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A friend has informed me this is from the redstem Filaree, and there are some cool time-lapse videos on Youtube of their spinning behavior when they are exposed to water, which is thought to help them burrow into the soil. (I'm just glad it didn't get a chance to burrow into the kitty!)

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    $\begingroup$ Well done, and fascinating! +1 $\endgroup$ – anongoodnurse May 17 '18 at 2:26

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