Mite-y leaf gall

Galls are the result of intimate, long co-evolved relationships between a gallmaker (often an insect) and a plant species (or related species).  Galls come in a variety of shapes and sizes and usually are found on a particular part of the plant.  Stan Hirsh (Class of 2019/20) holds a galled leaf in his hand.

This leaf gall is made by a mite in the genus Acalitus.  Its species has not been identified, but it galls bigleaf sumpweed (Iva frutsecens).  We saw this plant (and its galls) at the Winter Beach Salt Marsh …

… and know it from the coastal wetlands at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area shown below along the edge of a mosquito control dike along with sea oxeye daisy (Borrichia frutescens) …

Other common names for this plant include marsh elder, high-tide bush, high-water scrub, and Jesuit’s bark.  Its opposite leaves are toothed. narrowly lanceolate, and roughly pubescent.

its species name, frutescens, means becoming shrubby and refers to its growth habit.  It grows to be from 4 to 9′ tall.

Inconspicuous greenish white flowers occur in the upper leaf axils during late summer.

This native plant is adapted to the tough conditions of salt marsh life and will perform well in your landscape.

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