TG3106 : Common Spangle galls on oak

taken 7 months ago, near to Surlingham, Norfolk, Great Britain

Common Spangle galls on oak
Common Spangle galls on oak
These galls are caused by the Cynipid gall wasp Neuroterus quercusbaccarum.
The male and female of the sexual generation emerge in June from so-called currant galls which look similar to berries and measure up to 7 mm in diameter and vary in colour from pale yellow through green to red or purple. After mating, the fertilised eggs are laid by the sexual generation in the lower epidermis of the oak leaves, producing the spangle galls depicted here, which range in colour from cream to pink and have reddish-brown spots.
Plant galls
Galls are abnormal growths, swellings, pustules or discolourations produced by a plant or other host under the influence of another organism, involving the enlargement and/or proliferation of host cells and the provision of both shelter and food or nutrients for the invading organism. Galls provide a home for the larvae or grubs of certain invertebrates, where they can feed and develop, and each type of gall-producer or causer is specific to a particular kind of plant. Galls come in many shapes including spheres, knobs, lumps, warts or blisters, each being characteristic of the causal organism, and can have a range of colours. Galls can be found on the stems, leaves, flowers, fruits, seeds and roots of plants. Although many varieties of plants can be affected, oaks and willows are particularly rich in galls. Oaks are said to be host to more than 500 different types of galls. Weather, plant susceptibility, and pest populations affect the occurrence of plant galls.

Certain galls are documented to have been used in the production of ink since at least the time of the Roman Empire, and iron gall ink was the main medium used for writing in the Western World from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century. In Chinese medicine, oak galls are used as a remedy called moshizi, which is used for treating dysentery, ulcers and hemorrhoids among other things. Native Americans used poultices of ground gall nuts on sores, cuts and burns. The high content of tannic acid also makes oak galls a good source for tanning and dyeing.

Galls cause little permanent injury and rarely kill the infested plant.

For more detailed information go to the British Plant Gall Society's website at LinkExternal link
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TG3106, 218 images   (more nearby )
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Date Taken
Saturday, 19 August, 2017   (more nearby)
Sunday, 20 August, 2017
Geographical Context
Wild Animals, Plants and Mushrooms 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 3131 0674 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:36.5491N 1:24.8963E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 3133 0672
View Direction
Northwest (about 315 degrees)
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