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Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Friday - May 31, 2013

From: Valatie, NY
Region: Select Region
Topic: Pests
Title: Round green seed pods are likely leaf galls
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

While walking on a tree-lined dirt road after a mid-May storm, I noticed several seed pods but could not locate the plant they fell off of. The pods were round, light green and looked like large round grapes. They were light weight and hollow feeling, but inside was a seed starting to grow that was attached to the interior of the pod shell by spidery filaments. I looked through a tree and shrub identification book but could not find them.

ANSWER:

Your description sounds like leaf galls caused by the trees reaction to eggs deposited by an insect.  Here is a general description of plant galls from Henderson State University in Arkansas.  In fact, it sounds like a lot like oak-apple gall or maple bladder gall.  Here are more photos and information about oak-apple galls from the Urban Pantheist and more from Fairfax County Public Schools in Virginia.  The galls, by the way, are generally not detrimental to the tree that produces them.

 

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