ID needed, funny grape

rick strimbeck gstrimbe at
Mon Jun 3 14:57:06 EST 1996

In article <4onqb6$m36 at>,
d_micro at L Roginsky ) wrote:

> In <SaulysER.24.000DDA77 at MASPO2.MAS.YALE.EDU>
> SaulysER at MASPO2.MAS.YALE.EDU (Eleanor "Sam" Saulys) writes: 
> >
> >I was hiking on a downslope of Mt Higby in CT last weekend and came
> across a 
> >couple of strange looking items. I did not spot the tree or bush from
> which 
> >they fell/rolled; they may have even been carried onto the trail by 
> >another hiker (unlikely).
> >
> >The item has the size and feel of a ripe, green grape. It has spots -
> dark 
> >brown or purple. The little piece of stem attached was woody. Inside,
> instead 
> >of finding fruit substance, there was a small pithy core about the
> size of a 
> >match head and it was held in place by numerous filaments extending
> out to the 
> >interior walls of this 'grape'.
> >
> >Anyone out there have a clue? I found two of these, but the only trees
> I could 
> >identify above me were chestnut oaks.
> >
> >Thanks!
> Might just be the fruit of a hawtorn. Anyone else take a shot?

Sounds like an astute description of a gall to me -- they're very common
in oaks. Caused by insects - they lay eggs which cause the plant to
produce and abnormal growth, which protects the developing larva. Not an
expert, but the ones I've seen have the 'numerous filaments'...

Rick Strimbeck
University of Vermont
School of Natural Resources
Burlington, VT

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