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Field Guide to Plant Galls of California and Other Western States

Field Guide to Plant Galls of California and Other Western States

Ron Russo
Photographs and Illustrations by Ron Russo
Copyright Date: 2006
Edition: 1
Pages: 400
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  • Book Info
    Field Guide to Plant Galls of California and Other Western States
    Book Description:

    Oak apples, honeydew and ambrosia galls, witches’ brooms, and fasciations—all are types of plant galls, a commonly observed, yet little-understood botanical phenomenon. Often beautiful and bizarre, galls are growths of various shapes, sizes, and colors produced by host plants in response to invading organisms. This guide, a trove of natural history lore, explores this hidden realm, taking a fascinating look at the world of plant galls, the organisms that initiate them, their host plants, and their intricate behaviors. Focusing on native trees and shrubs, but also discussing several galls that occur on herbaceous and ornamental plants, it illuminates the complex interrelationship between botany and entomology and magnifies our awareness of plant communities in the West. * Identifies more than 300 species of galls—95 on oaks, 22 on members of the rose family, 60 desert species, and 35 species that are new to science * Describes plant galls from coastal dunes, the high Sierra, the Great Basin, forests throughout the western states, and the Mojave and Sonoran deserts * Includes information on host selection, growth and development, predator and parasite defense, and animal and human uses of galls

    eISBN: 978-0-520-93998-1
    Subjects: Botany & Plant Sciences

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-xi)
    Ron Russo
    (pp. 1-35)

    If you have ever camped or hiked beneath oak trees or have oaks on your property or in the neighborhood, you probably have noticed peculiar swellings known as “oak apples” or mysterious colorful adornments on leaves or branches. Or you may have noticed projections, swellings, or pouches on the leaves of alder, willow, juniper, pine, manzanita, sage, creosote bush, wild plum, wood rose, rabbitbrush or any number of native shrubs and trees in the western states. Welcome to the realm of plant galls.

    Plant galls are generally produced by host plants in response to the mechanical and/or chemical stimuli of...

    (pp. 37-71)

    The cast of characters in the world of plant galls is quite extensive and worldwide. Plant galls exist on every continent except Antarctica. Even in the Arctic tundra, there are galls on prostrate willows (Salixspp.) and huckleberries (Vacciniumspp.), among other plant species. The prominence of any one gall-inducing group varies from continent to continent. While cynipid wasps (Cynipidae) dominate North America, for example, mites and midges are the principle gall inducers in Asia.

    In this section, the basic biology of all the groups of major gall inducers found in western states is discussed. Individual behaviors and interactions are...


      (pp. 75-216)

      At least four species of alders occur in the Pacific states: Sitka alder (Alnus sinuata), red alder (A. rubra), white alder (A. rhombifolia), and mountain or thinleaf alder (A. tenuifolia). Both Sitka and mountain alder can appear as small trees or shrubs, whereas mature red and white alders tend to be relatively tall. For the most part, none of the six gall organisms described here seem to be restricted to any one species. The gall organisms of alder include a nitrogen-fixing bacterium, a sac fungus, two mites, and two gall midges.

      References: Mix 1949; Keifer 1952; Keifer et al. 1982;...

      (pp. 217-332)

      Compared to some trees, for example, oaks (Quercusspp.) and willows (Salixspp.), shrubs generally do not support many galls or gall organisms. Many shrubs have only one gall organism. There are, however, some notable exceptions including creosote bush (Larrea tridentata), rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnusspp.), and Great Basin sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata). These widespread shrubs host a fairly large number of gall-inducing insects. Except for roses (Rosaspp.), thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), and chinquapin (Chrysolepisspp.), which host cynipid wasps (Cynipidae), most shrubs support either moths, gall midges (Cecidomyiidae), tephritid fruit flies (Tephritidae), or in one case, a leaf-mining fly (Agromyzidae). In the...

      (pp. 333-341)

      Several plants do not fit into the previous two categories (trees and shrubs) that support known gall organisms but are worth mentioning. Among them are ferns, grasses, violets, lilies, and wild grapes. Each of these plants supports a unique gall organism. Note that Phillip Munz (1963) classified the lilies mentioned in the following species discussion in the genusBrodiaea. With the revision ofThe Jepson Manual: Higher Plants of California(Hickman 1993), the genusBrodiaeawas split into three different genera:Brodiaea,Triteleia, andDichelostemma.

      After the native plants are brief highlights of known galls on ornamental plants. As throughout...

    (pp. 342-342)

    A vast number of little known galls and gall-inducing organisms occur in the western United States. Even for identifiable species, we have only limited information available. Add to this all of the species that have yet to be studied and classified, and it becomes clear that there is so much more to learn about these fascinating creatures.

    Throughout the 35 years I have been collecting and studying plant galls, I have found many new species, and I still continue to find new ones to this day. I am sure you will too, if you look carefully. The discovery of new...

    (pp. 343-346)
    (pp. 347-362)
  10. INDEX
    (pp. 363-398)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 399-402)