Oak Leaf Galls
A simple none technical peep at some striking tree leaf galls
By Paul James
Various tree leaves around my patch sport a variety of 'fungal' looking growths which adhere to the underside of the leaves. They are not fungi but galls formed by the plant in response to attack by agents such as insects, fungi or parasites. The leaves were collected in the local woods after a western British winter. The climate appears to be somewhat cooler and wetter of late.
The following images of at least three tree leaf varieties are typical of those found on oak leaves in such an environment. Some are so intricate and colourful, that they appear to be examples of embroidery!
Under the low power photomacroscope they looked unreal because of their highly decorative appearance and colour. The particular gall that appears to be made from gold thread, is an amazing sight, as it looks almost 'inorganic', and not a living entity. The blue example directly above is the only one of its kind in the group of leaves I gathered. The size of the leaves onscreen indicates a magnification range of from around x2 to about x35 or so for the closeups. Images were recorded onto a Sony mirrorless NEX 3 camera back. The imaging objective is the Russian f2 Helios 44 camera lens coupled when necessary to a x2 tele-extender, all in situ on my modified Leitz stand.
All comments to the author Paul James are welcomed.
Published in the April 2016 edition of Micscape Magazine.
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