Sunday, May 23, 2010
Awesome Husband refers to galls as "tree warts," and that's what they look like. These leafy protuberances form when an insect, often a wasp or a mite, lays her egg inside a leaf's tissue. The egg, and later, the larva, produce hormones that interact with the plant to form a...well, a sort of wart. The wartiness provides food and shelter for the developing larva. When the larva matures, it chews its way out of its little house, and goes on to make more warts on more trees. Galls are unsightly, but they don't usually hurt the tree.
Since they're generally harmless, we can just enjoy their weirdness.
Those are just the galls I found in a 15-minute period in a hundred-foot stretch of trees lining the driveway. The variety is breath-taking, and I know there are more waiting in the woods.