Tuesday, March 19, 2013

What a lot of gall

I've seen these spherical growths on the oak trees around the vineyard for years now, figuring them to be some kind of insect incubator. Turns out they're called oak galls and are, in fact, the incubator for the eggs and larvae of a particular kind of wasp called the parthenogenetic gall wasp. At least that's as close as I can come to an answer using the internet.

Oak galls on a local oak tree. You can see the leaf buds getting ready to open.

In French, these formations are called les galles du cynips, with cynips being the common name for the wasp andricus kollari. Again, my extensive quick and dirty internet research may not be precise, but it's probably close.

So, for you language and geography lovers out there, one might say that we live in the land of galls, or in French: le pays de galles (which is French for Wales, U.K.). Wrap your heads around that!


  1. Thank you for that lesson in 'gall'. LOL I have enjoyed your blog for several years now, and look forward to your daily posts.

  2. Love your insightly posts - but mostly love your humor, Walt!

  3. With some white flocking, those galls would have looked great hanging from your Christmas tree...at least, until the critters inside came to room temperature.

  4. The "galls" are almost perfectly round, I wonder how they do that?

  5. Your ID seems reasonable to me.

  6. They look like something from one of those sci-fi films - I wouldn't be surprised to see aliens hatch out from them. As it happens it's something even more nasty, terrifying and useless - wasps !!

  7. These are beautiful and, being allergic, I now know to keep my distance!

  8. Do not know if this will work. This link shows
    the galls used to dye fabric



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