Beautiful and bizarre, plant galls are growths of various shapes, sizes, and colours produced in response to invading organisms. Describing 536 species of galls and their causative agents, Plant Galls of the Western United States explores this unique realm with stunning photos and fascinating information about the life cycles of the organisms involved. This guide includes 120 gall species new to science and 232 that have never appeared in a field guide before and examines for the first time more than 90 species from southwestern oak trees. It contains more than 150 species from most of the deserts of the western states.
Often species-specific, plant galls can be shaped like stars, baskets, clubs, wigs, bowls, and cups, with colours and combinations that stagger the imagination. This richly illustrated field guide examines how galls develop, and their uses, seasonal appearance and growth rate, predators, and defence mechanisms. The “architects” of galls – bacteria, fungi, mites, moths, beetles, flies, midges, and wasps – are explored in-depth, and descriptions are paired with illustrations of these gall-inducing organisms and their typical galls. Gall accounts are divided into those that occur on trees, shrubs, and miscellaneous hosts, including native and ornamental plants. The guide contains a useful glossary and a bibliography.
Ronald A. Russo is a retired California naturalist. His books include Field Guide to Plant Galls of California and Other Western States and Hawaiian Reefs.
"For those who have already discovered the wonders of plant galls, no reason needs to be given for why this book should pique your interest. For those who haven't yet added the observation and study of these fascinating, multi-form protrusions, I highly recommend giving the activity consideration, as learning about them is a superb way to expand your understanding of botany, mycology, and entomology all at the same time."
– Johannes Riutta, The Well-read Naturalist