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Mike's Blog - Day 261

So, back to the hunt for the wild crab apple trees as mentioned the other day when I got waylaid by the oak apple galls.

Firstly though, I now don’t think those were oak apple galls. Thanks to the eagle-eyed amongst you.

I have certainly seen oak apple galls a similar size and shape but earlier in the autumn, coloured green with a red tinge, very much like small apples. I had assumed these were the same thing and that I was just seeing them later in the year when they had turned brown. But thinking about it these were on the twig, what I had seen previously had always been on the leaf surface, so would drop off with the leaf.

The answer then is those that I showed you are “Marble Oak Galls”, similar in that a parasitic wasp causes them, but not “Oak Apple Galls”.

I also discovered that when the monarchy was restored in 1660 a national holiday was declared for May 29th every year. It was called Oak Apple Day, but was dropped centuries later...or was it? I see it is still celebrated in some parts of the UK but I’ve never heard of it. Maybe its celebrated but not as an official day off. I suppose it's “lost” in Whit week.

Right, the wild crab.

On the first one we found the crabs were quite large, so perhaps a bit of hybridization there.

Later I discovered a second tree not far away with apples that were much smaller and more red in colour.

I am now also aware of a third site which I need to visit, so let’s see what those are like.

We will grow some on and look to plant new trees in some of the gaps in the hedge lines locally. They might germinate in the spring after a cold winter, but we have tried holly and hawthorn before and it can take two winters of cold to break the inhibitor down in the seed.

I think the blog will be over in two more winters.