Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Aphid Gall on Rusty Lyonia

I found this truly bizarre growth on a crookedwood tree in the scrub. Crookedwood, or Rusty Lyonia (Lyonia ferruginea) is a common tree out here. I often find growths on them, but they are usually much smaller.  Most galls, in particular oak galls, are caused by an aphid-like insect.

Galls are produced by plant cells "tricked" into producing abnormal amounts of growth hormone. Galls from these tiny insects usually result from chemical secretions produced during feeding or egg laying.

This particular lyonia gall is caused by a fungus. There is a particular insect that lives inside this fungus however.
 
Although they look destructive, galls don't cause the plant any harm. Even this gigantic, gruesome gall is harmless.












2 comments:

  1. Where did you find this? We have found something very similar, if not exactly, like this on Sapelo Island off the coast of Georgia.

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    1. This is in the Seminole State Forest in central Florida. I've seen the same type of gall fairly often, but they were always much smaller with thinner "petals"

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