Thursday, May 15, 2008

The apple blossom has fallen - the oak apples swell

The flowers are all gone now. Here's a reminder of what it was like just a few days ago - May 4 I think.

Beside the New Forest oak Nick is photographing is another, less healthy, oak. It is covered in "oak apples". These are swelling caused by a gall wasp that lays eggs in the leaf buds and deposits a chemical that causes the leaf to turn into a small round casing where the grubs can grow and are fed by the sap of the oak. There is more about this (probably more than you want to know) in a longer oak apple post on the sister blog Oak in Autumn. For a little while these galls look like tiny apples though they quickly turn browner and less attractive. Here is a pic, it really does look like a sweet little apple!.

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