Sep 112010
 


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!

Photographs:

Pics 1&2: Coccid Gall on Eucalypt
Pic 3: Fungus Gall on Acacia sp.
Pic 4: Gall Wasp on Acacia sp.

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