TG3005 : Ram's horn galls

taken 25 days ago, near to Surlingham, Norfolk, Great Britain

Ram's horn galls
Ram's horn galls
The common name of this gall is derived from its look, which is somewhat similar to a ram's horn. It is produced by the wasp Andricus aries, which had been undocumented in England until the first colony was found at Hampstead Heath in 1999 and from there the gall has spread throughout the Home Counties and West London, as far as Buckingham and Essex and has since also reached Somerset, Norfolk, Leicestershire and Rutland. The galls have a single chamber but clusters of up to three galls have been recorded. Although it seems that, at least in NW Europe, the species only has an asexual generation, females may deposit eggs in axillary buds of Turkey oak (Quercus cerris).
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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TG3005, 211 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Thursday, 28 September, 2017   (more nearby)
Submitted
Thursday, 28 September, 2017
Geographical Context
Wild Animals, Plants and Mushrooms 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 3043 0592 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:36.1300N 1:24.0837E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 3042 0593
View Direction
East-southeast (about 112 degrees)
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