Saturday, 2 July 2016

30 Days Wild day 14- Lime galls

I was on campus again today and saw something which I'd never noticed before. Some of the trees were covered with strange, red, pointed growths. I decided to find out what they could be.

I like to think I'm reasonably good at tree identification, but this wasn't one I immediately recognised. So I took some photos and went online.

It turned out to be a common lime. Because it's a species often used as an ornamental tree in parks, gardens and residential areas, there was lots of information about pests and diseases online. This meant the galls were very easy to track down.

It turns out that the galls are created by mites (Eriophyes tiliae and E. lateannulatus). They are sap feeders, producing chemicals which cause the galls to grow. They then feed on the cells surrounding the gall, which provide more nutritious sap than other plant cells.

It's just one example of the fact that it's not only the big, charismatic mammals and birds which are interesting. Everything in nature, even the very smallest things, can be utterly fascinating. 

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