About Plant Galls

Knopper Gall (Andricus quercuscalicis)
Knopper Gall (Andricus quercuscalicis)

I have always been fascinated by these strange yet sometimes most beautiful growths. Plant galls are something of an oddity when some folk first encounter them, others don’t even know they exist. Plant galls come in all shapes and sizes, and are formed by another organism using the plant as a host, using it for shelter and for food.

Robin's Pincushion (Diplolepis rosae)
Robin’s Pincushion (Diplolepis rosae)

They are caused by insects or mites, fungi or bacteria, and cause a biological reaction within the plant which causes these odd lumps and bumps to form of their tissues.  They affect both herbaceous and wood plants, and there are at least over 1,000 species in Britain alone.

Cherry Gall Wasp (Cynips quercusfolii)
Cherry Gall Wasp (Cynips quercusfolii)

It is most unlikely you would see the mite or insect which causes the majority of these galls for they are very small, some even microscopic, but the species can be identified by the galls they produce.The study of plant galls is called cecidology.

15 thoughts on “About Plant Galls

    1. Thank you, Sandy 🙂 Indeed, I had hardly noticed them myself at one stage, and then you kind of get an eye, and an appeal and appreciation for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You’re not the only one fascinated by galls!! I keep a look out for them too. They can be quite aesthetically pleasing in a way though I don’t know if I would feel the same about some of the mites and larvae hidden inside!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment, Sarah. 🙂 I think it’s amazing how these different species have evolved such a complex and symbiotic relationship regarding their life cycles.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re so right!! Hope you’re watching Planet Earth II? Tonight’s symbiotic relationship was between a large vegetarian lizard and a small carnivorous lizard. Seeing one perched on the head of the other was a highlight for me 😀

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No, I missed ‘Planet earth II’, for I love all documentaries of this type, and David Attenborough is kind of a hero to me. I will probably get the DVD when it comes out 🙂

        Like

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