Stem nearly surrounded by growth, removed from site and resting on brick merely for scale
No identification made yet.
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Could this be a common earthball or one of the puffballs,common or stump? It looks like some sort of fungus rather than a gall.
Hi Peter, I don't think it can be a fungus.
At least, not like any puffball I've found, which have all been quite spongy. This thing weighs at least 200 grams, with its twig. It is strong enough for me to stand on without any effect, and sounds like a mallet if I bang it on something solid.
Sorry Mike...obviously not a fungi then.Could it simply be a piece of concrete thats dropped from a mixer onto the twig and been discarded? I'm grasping at straws now but it is an intriguing object.
... and definitely not concrete, though it has the right degree of solidity!
I had to fight my way into a cross between a hedge and a grove (WordWeb offers the word "woodlet" too!) to cut out this substantial twig at about chest height. So I am sure it grew in situ.
I guess I could saw it in half to see if there is any sign of an occupant that might have caused the growth.
Agrobacterium tumefaciens (Crown gall) is a possibility. Was it the only example? There are other iSpot observations for this "gall", but these show a more corky like exterior. Have you any idea what tree it was on?
Thanks Robert, I knew someone was bound to ask me what species of tree the stalk belongs to, and of course I don't know. (Or I would have said, honest!)
I half hoped that someone would be able to recognise the tree species from the twig, but there's nothing very distinctive. I'm no botanist, but come the spring I shall go back and take my sole tree field guide with me...
I have read up on the Crown Gall suggestion and see that the pictures show a rough exterior whereas mine is the same texture as the twig bark (hence the assumption it might be a gall). I didn't read anything about density or solidity.
Also I gather the name "Crown" comes from growth at the crown of the roots, at ground level. Whereas mine was at least a metre above ground level.
If only the local gall expert had not died several years ago I would ask him!
Coincidently I have just seen another example this am - on Sallow, with some of the galls on branches some 6 metres above the ground. Galls formed last year are still quite spongy, whereas older ones do become woody. Alas, the oldest were encrusted with lichens so it wasn't possible to find one eactly like yours.
Thanks Robert, "woody" is certainly a good description of my object!
OK, so I didn't wait for spring but as I was there I located the plant (easy because of the trunk-ation!) and removed a little twig with buds - photo now included.
The buds are about 8-10mm long and the background is a close-up of the "gall".
My guess would be poplar (there are a lot around) but even with the help of two tree books I am still uncertain...
Lat/Lng: 51.502004, -0.690689
OS grid ref: SU909789