Hill Country Naturalist

Edgar's picture

Galls: Strange Growths on Trees and Other Plants

A few weeks ago I wrote a column about lichens, ball moss and other things that grow on trees. Galls don’t fit in that category because they are not things that grow ON trees, but rather abnormal growths that are part OF the tree.

The most commonly seen around here are small round brown balls on oak tree twigs, but there are many different forms and colors of galls and they are not limited to oaks or even to trees—galls can be found on flowers, shrubs and even vegetables.

Galls are not like tumors that are caused by an abnormality in the cells of the plant such as caused by a cell mutation. Galls are caused by external agents. Most often galls are caused by insects, although fungi and bacteria can also cause some galls.


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