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Oak apple

Oak apple

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Oak apple is the common name for a large, round, vaguely apple-like gall
Gall
Galls or cecidia are outgrowths on the surface of lifeforms caused by invasion by other lifeforms, such as parasites or bacterial infection. Plant galls are abnormal outgrowths of plant tissues and can be caused by various parasites, from fungi and bacteria, to insects and mites...

 commonly found on many species of oak
Oak
An oak is a tree or shrub in the genus Quercus , of which about 600 species exist. "Oak" may also appear in the names of species in related genera, notably Lithocarpus...

. Oak apples range in size from 2-5cm. Oak apples are caused by chemicals injected by the larva
Larva
A larva is a distinct juvenile form many animals undergo before metamorphosis into adults. Animals with indirect development such as insects, amphibians, or cnidarians typically have a larval phase of their life cycle...

 of certain kinds of gall wasp
Gall wasp
Gall wasps , also called Gallflies, are a family of the order Hymenoptera and are classified with the Apocrita suborder of wasps in the superfamily Cynipoidea...

 in the family Cynipidae. The adult female wasp lays single eggs in developing leaf buds. The larvae feed on the gall tissue resulting from their secretions. Considerable confusion exists in the general 'literature' between the oak apple and the oak marble gall. The oak marble is frequently called the oak apple due to the superficial resemblance and the preponderance of the oak marble gall in the wild. Other galls found on oak trees include the Oak artichoke gall and the Acorn cup gall
Andricus grossulariae
Andricus grossulariae is a gall wasp species inducing agamic acorn cup or gooseberry galls on oak tree acorn cups and sexual phase galls on catkins...

 but these both have their own distinctive form.

Some common oak-apple forming species are Biorhiza pallida gall wasp in Europe, Amphibolips confluenta in eastern North America, and Atrusca bella in western North America. Oak apples may be brownish, yellowish, greenish, pinkish or reddish.

Iron gall ink



Oak galls have been used in the production of ink since at least the time of the Roman Empire
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

. From the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 to the early twentieth century iron gall ink was the main medium used for writing in the western world.

Folklore


If a 'worm' is found inside the gall on Michaelmas Day then the year will be pleasant and unexceptional. If a spider is found then it will be a bad year with shortages and ruined crops. If a fly is found inside then it will be a moderate season and if nothing is found then serious diseases will occur all that year.


Oak Apple Day

Oak Apple Day
Oak Apple Day or Royal Oak Day was a holiday celebrated in England on 29 May to commemorate the restoration of the English monarchy, in May 1660...

 (or Royal Oak Day) is a former public holiday in England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

 on 29 May that commemorated the Restoration
English Restoration
The Restoration of the English monarchy began in 1660 when the English, Scottish and Irish monarchies were all restored under Charles II after the Interregnum that followed the Wars of the Three Kingdoms...

 of Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 in 1660. The popular name refers to the event during the English Civil War
English Civil War
The English Civil War was a series of armed conflicts and political machinations between Parliamentarians and Royalists...

 when Charles hid in an oak tree. The commemoration persists in some areas today, although festivities have little to do with the Restoration.

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