Down at Kennel’s Lane Meadow SSSI last week I was joined by three of our new students; Adam, Alan and Oscar. Together we hay-cut the meadow and spotted some interesting wildlife; a common lizard and strange shaped growths on a oak tree.
After some investigation back at the office, we identified them as the distinctive oak artichoke galls. They are formed when the Andricus foecundatrix gall wasp lays a single egg in leaf buds, causing a chemically induced distortion of the bud which grows into the distinctive artichoke shape. The gall then forms a protective casing for the gall wasp larvare to develop. They are most abundant in June to September, so keep your eyes peeled.