Trees; Oak galls

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Anonymous (not verified)
Trees; Oak galls

Early last autumn I noticed oak galls on some of the oak saplings in Moore Meadow. An on-line search revealed that there are many varieties of oak gall, which result from the oak gall wasp injecting its eggs into young oak trees. This causes the oak to develop the abnormal growths, known as galls, to protect the developing wasp larvae. I think the ones I’ve seen are mainly marble galls, still greenish tinged while the leaves were on the trees, but browner and dried by the winter. They look a little like miniature Christmas tree baubles left on the bare trees in the frost. An exit hole is visible on some, where the wasp grub has emerged, or maybe a parasite has entered.

Until I saw a BBC programme ‘A year in the life of an oak tree’, I hadn’t realised the important role of oak galls in history. Iron gall ink was used for many centuries. Magna Carta and Acts of Parliament were written in this ink.  A good description of how to make it can be found here.

Claire Browne (not verified)
How beautiful, and how

How beautiful, and how fascinating.    A bit hard on that poor little oak tree, though.

I have been watching the fungus and lichen growing on the fallen oak in Moore's Meadow.   Something orange, something slimy purple, one group of white finger-like fungus, some rusty brown powdery fungus.   Anybody know anything about them?