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.


    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?

    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…


    October 21, 2013 at 11:54 AM

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