TG3005 : Oak marble galls

taken 19 days ago, near to Surlingham, Norfolk, Great Britain

Oak marble galls
Oak marble galls
This gall > LinkExternal link is caused by the oak marble gall wasp, Andricus kollari, which has two generations per year, the first being sexual, whereas the second is agamic, ie it consists of females only and requires no males for reproduction. This wasp also needs two different species of oak in which to breed and the sexual gall is hence found on the buds of the Turkey Oak, whereas the agamic galls are found on the buds of various species of Quercus including the Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur). The development of the specimens depicted here would seem to have been arrested and the galls are shrivelling and mouldy.

The same tree also hosts silk spangle button galls > LinkExternal link , oyster galls > LinkExternal link and ram's horn galls > LinkExternal link. The white pattern seen on the underside of the leaf at left is caused by the larvae of a leaf miner moth.
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
Southeast (about 135 degrees)
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