You’ve Got a Lot of Gall!

Last weekend I was weeding in the wildlife garden and there was some very pretty creeping charlie (glechoma) climbing in and around my peonies and my black-eyed susans.  I was tempted to let it stay and ultimately I decided against it, knowing that with that weed, if you give it an inch, it will take over in an instant.

As I was pulling it out, I noticed these hard lumps on the stems.  I was genuinely puzzled because I didn’t think that weeds got galls.  I was about to dismiss it as seed pods, and then, for the heck of it, I decided to cut one open.

At first it wasn’t really definitive.  All I saw were little whorls surrounding a brown center.  But when I cut into that brown center this is what I saw.

Now remember, these are the very same black eyed susans that I keep insisting are not being attacked by fungus but are being eaten by insects.  At first I’d thought I’d found the larval stage of my critter.

Sadly, this is not the case.  A little more research showed that this critter is a parasitic wasp–so possibly a good guy after all and nothing to be worried about.

So I placed my handsful of weed in a place where the wasps could have a chance to hatch out and do some good, perhaps.  But meanwhile, I’m still glad that I removed that weed before it took hold of the rest of the garden!

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