Pine pollen washes up on bayside of Assateague Island

It may look like it, but that's not yellow latex paint — it's actually pine pollen. 

Officials at Assateague Island National Seashore say pine pollen from the Sinepuxent Bay in Maryland washed up on the bayside of the island this week. 

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In a Facebook caption, officials describe pine pollen as "large (60-100 micrometers in size compared to other pollen grains, which are mostly approximately 10 micrometers) and as such, should be too heavy to travel through the air. However, to compensate to its large size, pine pollen has two air capsules that are attached to either side of the pollen grain itself; if you were to look at pine pollen under a microscope, it would look like a Mickey Mouse head with the ears being the capsules. The air capsules reduce the weight of the pollen grain and make it easier to travel though the air. When the pine pollen settles out of the air and onto the water, the same air capsules make the pollen grains buoyant, so they float on the water. As the wind blows toward shore, the grains are pushed into one another and creates what appears to be a latex paint like mass along the shoreline."