Hi, my name is: Gall (of Australian Native Trees)
Describe yourself: I guess some people would describe me as an abnormal growth on plant parts, but I reckon I’m just a regular lump, hanging around on stems, leaves, buds, and, when the mood strikes….roots! I may look pretty boring (and a little ugly) on the outside, but I’m actually really interesting under the surface! Size wise, I can go from minute to big and hideous, and my colours can vary from red to yellow and even brown!
Hobbies: I am the result of plant cells’ reaction to invasion by my friends e.g. wasps, beetles, moths, coccids, psyllids or bacteria. I don’t move around at all (I just hang out growing bigger and bigger) and, once I’ve settled in, I stay for a long while!
Likes: Loads of Australian native plants, but I really love Eucalypts, Acacias, Lilypillies and Hakeas. I like making your prized native trees look really ugly… but I don’t always kill them!
Dislikes: Well… not much, but the little pests who cause me are not huge fans of birds and other insect eaters. You see, I am often formed when little wasps, beetles and insects lay their eggs in plant parts, so a really diverse habitat with loads of bird activity will certainly upset me!
You’ll Know You’ve Met Me When: Certain parts of your trees have lumps on them. In wattle trees and hakeas, I grow on the branches and look like a big seed pod. But on eucalypts I can appear a bit like a little pimple on the leaves. When I hang out on lilly pillies, I look like bubbles and pimples on their beautiful foliage!
Breaking up ain’t hard to do… if:
- Accept that tiny lumps and bumps are all part of nature….I mean, we can’t all look like supermodels!
- Encourage backyard biodiversity….having birds, lizard and insects in the garden will help keep the critters that cause galls under control.
- When buying Lillypillies, look for varieties that are less susceptible to psyllid….there’s heaps of them out there!
- Cut off areas if they are really offensive to you….as I said, I probably won’t kill your tree, so this is a last resort!
Pics 1&2: Coccid Gall on Eucalypt
Pic 3: Fungus Gall on Acacia sp.
Pic 4: Gall Wasp on Acacia sp.