Thursday, June 11, 2009

Insect Gall


A friend of mine, who taught biology at Colby Community College, came out to look at the tree as soon as I emailed pictures to him. He said that the bush/tree was indeed wild plum. He even found a small green plum. The growths are from an insect larvae on/in the fruit. The larvae secretes a chemical that causes the fruit to grow abnormally around it. He compared it to a tumor. I found a good explanation and pictures on Winterwoman.net.

Galls have been used in the manufacture of ink and for tanning. The larvae inside can be used for survival food or fish bait. We found a tiny, tiny gnat or fly inside these galls.

Check out Wikipedia for some interesting pictures or Google "galls" for lots of information.
Maybe there will still be plums enough for a little jelly!

7 comments:

Nancy said...

How interesting. Thanks for posting the follow-up. I hope that you will be able to find enough plums for jelly.

Mildred said...

How interesting! Thanks.

Aunt Dinah said...

Good detective work, Mary! Thanks for sharing the solution to the mystery with us.

Christina Joy said...

My favorite is how the "gall" is actually about the same color as...gall. Nice.

Oz Girl said...

Well, dang, I learned something new. :) I will say that insect gall is less than appealing, so unless I was actually dying of starvation, not sure if I could eat what's inside. Ehw.

Tipper said...

Interesting-glad your friend gave you the info-and you gave it to us!

Far Side of Fifty said...

Great you got a positive ID out of both of your questions.. hope you can still salvage some plums:)