Nature Gardens at NHM: LA's Urban Nature

Showing posts with label : galls

October 31, 2013

Oak Wasp Galls

Let me introduce you to a tiny parasitic wasp that makes a unique nursery for its offspring. Meet the Oak Gall Wasp:

To construct her nursery, female Oak Gall Wasps employ a not-so-subtle subterfuge. Instead of woking to find and construct a nest of her own, the wasp turns to the mighty oak and bends it to her will!

Eggs are gently inserted into the flesh of the oak's limbs and cause the area to swell. These deformaties are better known as galls, and help to protect and feed the developing wasp larvae that hatch inside. Although they are sometimes refered to as plant tumors, these growths are not harmful to the oak. Galls made by this particular wasp, can grow to the size of a small babies fist, and to the untrained eye look like apples. Therefore, they are often refered to as oak apples. What if one were to pick...