by Sarah West, Yorkshire and Humber
Sorry for the large gap in posts, Chris (webmaster) and I have entered the world of twitter, follow us @OPALnature if you're into that kind of thing. Anyway, I went out with the Yorkshire Naturalists Union on Saturday to Spurn Point, a reserve managed by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust . It's a spit, a long stretch of sandy beach created by the action of waves pushing sand along the beach and out into an estuary (in this case, the Humber). Anyway, I was following around Tom and Ian of the British Plant Gall Society and they opened my eyes up to a whole new world!
So, what's a gall? Well, here's an example of some galls we saw on Saturday.
The red furry looking blobs on this rose are called Robin's Pin Cushion, or Diplolepis rosae. These amazing growths are the rose's reaction to an external influence, in this case, it's caused by a tiny wasp. The rose forms a gall to protect itself, it's a bit like you getting a scab.
Although this is fairly common, look out for it next time you see a wild rose bush, Ian and Tom had never seen so many on one plant, so I was pretty happy with this find!
For more information on these amazing things, see www.british-galls.org.uk/publications.htm