Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

A gall, I presume

with 12 comments

Gall in Dry Liatris Stalk by Flowers 7437

It’s common among flowering spikes of blazing-star, Liatris mucronata, to see dry stalks left over from the previous year. In this dry and broken stalk I noticed what seems to be a gall, a swelling that develops after an insect stings a plant in order to create an abode for itself, or more likely its offspring. How an insect knows to do that, I can’t say, but it’s a common phenomenon. So is digestion, which I also don’t know how to do, but fortunately my body does.

I photographed this dead-end of a dry blazing-star stalk near a living and flowering one on a piece of the Blackland Prairie in far northeast Austin on September 12th.

© 2013 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

October 20, 2013 at 6:00 AM

12 Responses

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  1. Well, this gall seems not to be divided, but to have only one part. I used to be galled by galls, but then I discovered how interesting they are. This is a nice shot of one, especially with the lovely background.

    shoreacres

    October 20, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    • Once again you’ve read my mind, because I’d thought about playing around with Caesar’s famous beginning: “Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres…,” “All Gaul is divided into three parts….” In the end I decided against any galling wordplay—this time.

      Steve Schwartzman

      October 20, 2013 at 7:16 AM

  2. I notice them a lot when we are out. They are most common in the fall. They apparently do little or no harm.

    Are you able to see this one?
    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/hetVHtQ7uDhpA2M26pUEK9w7Zv3fne2wm1f5mWB1a4c=w192-h191-p-no

    Jim in IA

    October 20, 2013 at 7:55 AM

  3. Your picture and words say and show the true wonder of nature.

    Emma Sarah Tennant

    October 20, 2013 at 9:43 AM

  4. Galls on large trees are a sight to behold. That was my first encounter with them. I liken it to a cut that gets infected and swells up…

  5. One stalk & yet so much going on there! Just magical…

    oawritingspoemspaintings

    October 21, 2013 at 11:54 AM


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