Christmas ornament cecidology

!palofixia-faeyi-gallThis gorgeous gall was like a Christmas ornament on the south Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area scrub. This gall (or cecidia) on Faey’s palafoxia (Palafoxia faeyi) was caused by a gall-making midge (Asphondylia sp.). Note the exit hole below …
A Florida scrub endemic, Faey’s palafoxia — and this associated gall — has become more abundant (or evident) since the property was roller-chopped last year. This slightly woody wildflower grows to be from 2 to 6′ tall and has rough, tough leaves.
This plant is a member of the Asteraceae (daisy) family, and its white or pinkish floral heads are composed entirely as ‘disc’ flowers (i.e., no petals).
Plant gall-maker relationships are quite specific, and the gall-making midge associated with Faey’s palafoxia uses the floral heads. Note the green gall beginning to form at the left back side of this photo …
We have just engaged in some Christmas cecidology, the study of galls.

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