Sunday, September 23, 2007

Hundreds flock to view ‘weeping tree’

An acacia tree that started sprouting a foamlike substance on its branches after its owner died is drawing hundreds of people a day to see what some believe is supernatural ice.

To the naked eye, the white stuff about 20 feet up in the tree looks like ice braving the South Texas heat.

Not likely, say insect and tree experts who viewed photographs of the substance. They said the ‘‘miracle ice’’ is probably nothing more than a spittlebug nest.

‘‘It looks like spit, basically,’’ agreed Paul Johnson of the Texas Forest Service.

The faithful and the curious have been coming to Leonisia Garcia’s home near the Mexico border since last week, after Garcia died of a heart attack.

Family members said they noticed the yellow-tinted froth and the puddles of liquid around the trunk a day after they buried the 92-year-old matriarch. They say she loved the acacia tree and spent days beneath it while colouring the cascarones - confetti-filled eggshells - she sold each year. The tree has been ‘‘weeping’’ ever since, they say.

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