The Question: I uncovered this seeds pod in the forest. I’ve never seen this particular plant before. Perform you recognize what it is from?

Submitted by: Michael, Ohio, USA

The brief Answer: Although it looks like a seeds or a fruit – reflected in the fact that it’s often called an apple oak bile – this is actually the nursery of an oak gall wasp, more than likely Amphibolips quercusinanis.

You are watching: Tree with round green seed pods

Worldwide, there space thousands of species of wasps, and other insects and organisms that produce abnormal growths dubbed “galls.” The female oak gall wasp lays a small egg within the central vein of a newly developing oak leaf. Favor a biochemical saboteur, the egg commandeers the leaf’s normal development and reasons it to type into the round gall shape, with the emerging egg safeguarded in the center. Together the honest suit larva grows over the summer, the feeds top top the nutrients the sheet supplies, till it chews it means out and flies away together an adult wasp. Girlfriend will often see oak galls dried and also brown in fall, each with a small hole where the adult wasp has exited.


Most resources say the galls don’t pains trees. Usually, a tree has a grasp of apple oak galls, and the lose of a few leaves come the wasps more than likely doesn’t injury the tree much. Yet shortly after ~ receiving Michael’s photo, ns noticed this tree, spanned with galls. This level of parasitism have to hurt the tree to some extent, compared to trees without galls. (It’s a little tough to watch the galls in the photo, so ns circled them in yellow to present how many there are.)

More Information: Sex decision in wasps varies quite a bit, and also wasps in the Amphibolips genus have evolved an exciting reproductive scheme. After arising all summer within galls, the adult wasps, both males and females, arise in the fall and then mate. Each fertilized female climate burrows underground and lays her eggs in roots of trees. In the spring, the egg hatch underground and also feed ~ above the tree roots. What’s weird is the all those larvae room female. As soon as they finish their advance these females come the end of the ground, climb up oak trees and lay egg on the leaves. This unfertilized eggs develop into both males and also females. In the fall, lock climb out of your galls and also mate and the bike starts over.

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In this way, the bile wasps have alternating generations, one asexual and then one sexual each year. Because an asexual generation has twice as many egg-laying members together a sex-related generation, it permits a populace to grow much more rapidly. ~ above the various other hand, sex-related reproduction creates brand-new genetic variation at a much higher rate, top to higher adaptability the the population. Theoretical modeling suggests that alternate sexual through asexual generations gains few of the benefits of each.