Friday, November 6, 2009

A Galling Situation

There are hundreds of varieties of oak galls, and this is one of the coolest I've found. It looks like something alien to earth, with magenta tentacles coming from a yellow orb. (A gall, in case you're not as nature nerdy as I, is a growth on the plant that contains an insect larva or a mite. Most of them have little wasps or flies. In most cases, the insect secretes a substance that causes the plant tissue to grow abnormally and then the insect can develop inside the protective plant tissue. Oaks and goldenrods seem to be common hosts to galls. Also maples and ashes, now that you mention it.)
This seems to be how they start, small and tentacle-less.
This is an older one; they got almost half an inch long and turned brown, like little hedgehogs.

Here are some of the other oak galls I found today. Unfortunately, I only had my camera for part of the day, so I missed some of the varieties I found.

Tomorrow? Some scraps of honesty, I promise.

1 comment:

  1. Fun post. I find little red oak galls on the ground every now and then. Mama used to say that people used them for ink in 'the old days.'