Archive for December 12th, 2009

When I was hiking on the Marble Rock trail, I noticed a tree with large “growths” on it. They were quite large and conspicuous. I stopped to look more closely and take a few photos. Just a couple of trees in the area seemed to be infected. I was in a hurry by this point in the hike, as the afternoon light was fading, and I didn’t stop for long. Because the growths were so large and obvious, I thought it would be something quite well-known to persons more knowledgeable than me.

A search on the internet failed to come up with anything that seemed right. I tried my most reliable and trusty source first: Birdgirl, over at The Marvelous in Nature. However, she couldn’t tell me what it was. She suggested I try BugGuide.

I received a quick response to my post on BugGuide from Charley Eiseman, who believes it to be caused by something other than an anthropod, such as a fungus. I searched the internet a bit further, and came up with Phomopsis galls as a possibility. I tried AllExperts for another opinion. Dr. Stephen Vann replied: Phomopsis (fungus disease)can be a cause, among others that can cause these “galls” on the tree. Sometimes bacteria, like crown gall can cause these as well as some insects. A laboratory examination of the tissue would be required to ID the specific agent. Thank you to both gentlemen for their help.

To my surprise, I don’t have a definitive answer on the cause of these deformities. It’s a mystery.

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