Take a gander at all the fluffy marshmallows hanging in our tree. Have you ever seen such a healthy crop of marshmallows?
No, of course you haven’t. This is a crop of Wool Sower Galls! Yum!
Here is a closer shot.
(Please, click on image once or twice for close-up.)
There is a gall wasp called Callirhytis seminator. The grubs of this wasp secrete a chemical which reacts with that of the oak growth hormone in the spring. The reaction stimulates the formation of the wooly substance around the seed-like structure in which the wasp develops. There are, actually, many small wooly galls joined together to form one larger gall. I went to the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture website for this information. I’m happy to find out that the tree will not be overwhelmed or harmed by this amazing occurrence.
We sliced the gall in half. Here is a picture of the inside of the gall. The gall is tougher than it looks. It is quite substantial. I understand it functions to protect and to nourish the developing wasps. Each “seed” has the potential to produce a wasp.
I’ve observed gall activity in the white oaks before. In fact, here is a gall post that I wrote in spring, 2013 .
(A big “Hello!” to Tom of “Feed the Burbs.” (Check them out in the greater Philadelphia area!) Thank you, Tom, for the very gentle nudge to get some marshmallows…I mean…new content up on the blog!)