By Ron Russo

Oak apples, honeydew and ambrosia galls, witches’ brooms, and fasciations—all are forms of plant galls, a ordinarily saw, but little-understood botanical phenomenon. usually attractive and weird, galls are growths of varied shapes, sizes, and hues produced through host crops according to invading organisms. This advisor, a trove of common background lore, explores this hidden realm, taking a desirable examine the realm of plant galls, the organisms that begin them, their host crops, and their difficult behaviors. targeting local timber and shrubs, but additionally discussing numerous galls that happen on herbaceous and decorative vegetation, it illuminates the advanced interrelationship among botany and entomology and magnifies our wisdom of plant groups within the West.

  • Identifies greater than three hundred species of galls—95 on oaks, 22 on individuals of the rose family members, 60 barren region species, and 35 species which are new to science
  • Describes plant galls from coastal dunes, the excessive Sierra, the nice Basin, forests during the western states, and the Mojave and Sonoran deserts
  • Includes details on host choice, progress and improvement, predator and parasite protection, and animal and human makes use of of galls

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Additional info for Field Guide to Plant Galls of California and Other Western States (California Natural History Guides, Volume 91)

Sample text

The inhabitants of galls, whether they are gall inducers, inquilines, parasites, or hyperparasites, can serve as focal points, which, in turn, attract many other predatory insects. The actual number of insects supported by the galls, including the gall inducers and associated insects, can easily exceed several dozen species. Even if we look only at galls, the ecological web of a chaparral or woodland community is a jumble of interactions, dependencies, and implications that far exceeds our wildest imagination.

1987; Johnson and Lyon 1991; Walls and Zamora 2001. Seasonal Appearance and Growth Rate The appearance of plant galls in nature is influenced by many factors but generally coincides with the season of greatest plant growth. For the most part, galls develop on their host plants between spring and late summer. Some midge and fruit fly galls, however, develop on rabbitbrush during winter. Generally, the insects that are successful are those whose emergence (from old galls or the duff under their host plant) coincides within a week or so of the development and optimal condition of their preferred host’s gall organ (swelling buds, new shoots, and leaves).

One blister rust gall on lodgepole pine (Pinus contorta subsp. murrayana) was found to support 137 species of insects. SAC FUNGI are among the most interesting gall-inducing fungi. The spores of sac fungi are produced in microscopic sacs or envelopes and are forcibly discharged in late spring to midsummer to infect new host tissue. Among the sac fungi, several species of the genus Taphrina are widely known for initiating leaf blisters, leaf curls, swollen fruit called BLADDER PLUMS, and witches’ brooms (table 7).

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