Friday, December 9, 2016

Four Winds!

We had our first Four Winds last week! Four Winds is a parent volunteer program where children learn about science, nature and the world around them. Azalea's mom, Jasmine, led us on our first Four Winds Exploration- all about Galls!

Galls Galore!
A gall is an out-of-the-ordinary growth of plant tissue.  It is produced by some irritation or chemical stimulus outside of a plant that causes a part of the plant to swell or grow in a peculiar way.  Gall growth can be caused by a variety of fungi, viruses, mites and, most commonly, insects.  You may find galls on grasses, vines, trees, and flowers.
 Galls come in a huge variety of colors, shapes, sizes and textures.  They may be found on any part of a plant, but only develop while that part of the plant is growing.
Gall-making insects produce a specific kind of gall that usually grows on one kind of plant. An insect or mite gall provides a home and food for developing young.  The gall also provides safety from parasites and predators and protection from drying out.

The goldenrod ball gallfly is one kind of insect that spends two stages of its life cycle inside a gall.  The adult fly lays eggs on the goldenrod stem, the larva burrows into the stem and a ball shaped gall forms around it.  The larva develops and pupates inside the gall and later emerges as an adult to continue the life cycle.

Pretending we were living in a gall!!!
Opening up a gall and finding a little "worm"!!!

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