Even though our building is closed*, our trails are free and open to the public daily from dawn until dusk.
We invite you to come out and enjoy the Wonders of Nature…it’s good for the mind, body and soul.
Oh my Gall! What is that big bump on the stem of that Goldenrod?
It’s a gall - an abnormal growth on a plant caused by irritation from insects or disease. In this case, the gall is most likely caused by the Goldenrod Gall Fly. They lay their eggs in the stem of Canada Goldenrod in the spring, where they hatch into larvae that eat the plant material inside.
By late summer and early autumn the larvae are big enough to survive the winter and there is only one larva per gall. How do they survive the cold, harsh temps? Their bodies produce an anti-freeze like substance that allows them to survive the winter while inactive. When temperatures begin to warm in the spring, the larvae “wake up”, enter the pupa stage and, two weeks later, a mature Goldenrod Gall Fly emerges.
In the winter, inactive Gall Fly larvae can also be a source of food for some creatures. Downy Woodpeckers may peck holes into the gall for a snack and Gray Squirrels may find a treat by chewing on the galls.