No, really! Do you see the galls?
Chances are, you've seen one before but figured it was just part of the plant that's decided to get a little crazy.
Well, galls are abnormal growths and there are a handful of causes but this blog is focusing on those caused by insects.
The size, shape, color, texture, etc is all dependent on the combination of chemical and plant. Usually an insect species prefers a certain host plant or plants.
The appearance can be quite unique which allows identification to be fairly simple, even without seeing the insect.
Some are bold and threatening where others are soft and pretty.
The timing of the injection is usually in Spring, when the plant is growing rapidly. This allows the gall to get large enough to host the growing larva.
The gall itself acts as a shelter for the larva and usually contains "food" inside such as starch.
The nutritional value of galls is quite high and some animals love to eat them. People can eat the larva in survival situations. People also make ink from the chemicals in various galls as well.
Galls are created when an insect such as a wasp or midge, lays eggs in a fleshy part of a plant. Chemicals are released by either the adult or the larva that causes the plant to grow in that immediate area.
Eventually the larva mature and exit from the gall, leaving one or more holes.
The damage caused by the galls is usually minor although there are cases where dense populations of galls can cause more extensive, localized damage.
The insects that create galls usually have the name of the host plant or a word to describe the galls appearance in addition to "gall" in their common name. Just look at the names on these images.
Below are a few more photographs of galls I've encountered so far. There is a page dedicated to galls that I'll add more images to as I take them.