TG3205 : Striped pea gall on oak leaf

taken 1 year ago, near to Rockland st Mary, Norfolk, Great Britain

Striped pea gall on oak leaf
Striped pea gall on oak leaf
This attractive gall is caused by the asexual generation of Cynips longiventris, a cynipid gall wasp. It is more frequently found on the underside of leaves but as this example shows, can occasionally also be seen on the upper leaf surface of oaks. For a wider view see > LinkExternal link. (My grateful thanks go to Anne Hickley, the Norfolk County Recorder of plant galls, for kindly identifying this gall for me.)

The sexual generation produces oval or pear-shaped, hairy galls of ~2mm length on resting buds. The galls are described as being similar to those of Cynips quercusfolii, but the fur is longer and greyish, rather than purplish violet, and there is an absence of bud scales at the base.
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. Oak marble galls > LinkExternal link for instance, were introduced in the early 19th century in an attempt to grow our own supply of galls for making ink. 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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TG3205, 233 images   (more nearby )
Photographer
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Date Taken
Monday, 21 August, 2017   (more nearby)
Submitted
Monday, 21 August, 2017
Geographical Context
Wild Animals, Plants and Mushrooms 
Subject Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 3257 0544 [10m precision]
WGS84: 52:35.8169N 1:25.9559E
Camera Location
OSGB36: geotagged! TG 3256 0543
View Direction
Northeast (about 45 degrees)
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