Nat­u­ral part­ner­ship

French Property News - - Interiors -

In Oc­c­i­tanie, we no­ticed trees which we were able to iden­tify as Tere­binth – or thought we could. The prob­lem is that none of our tree books show the type of growth we saw on these par­tic­u­lar trees. They were erect, go­ing red­dish in colour, three-four inches in length… and looked a lit­tle like sweet pota­toes stand­ing on end! Have we pos­si­bly made a mis­take in iden­ti­fi­ca­tion? Mary Brown

You per­fectly de­scribe the galls caused by the aphid Buch­n­era aphidi­cola ( Baizonga pista­ciae), which lays eggs on the Tere­binth ( Pista­cia tere­binthus) and sim­i­lar trees. These gall growths – in which the aphid grubs spend sum­mer be­fore emerg­ing and go­ing un­der­ground for the win­ter – can ac­tu­ally reach about six inches long.

What moth In the plant world there are sev­eral gall-form­ing in­sects af­fects (per­haps the vines? the most com­mon ones be­ing those that form the cir­cu­lar galls on an oak tree; some­times re­ferred to as ‘oak ap­ples’) and they seem not to be harmed by act­ing as host, and in­stead adapt their growth pat­tern to the needs of the in­sect. This in­cludes pro­duc­ing tis­sue (the gall) that en­closes the grubs. Once in­side, the grubs feed on lay­ers of cells pro­duced within the gall be­fore even­tu­ally turn­ing into adults.

Galls on the Tere­binth tree are formed by aphids

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