The Marble Gall

We often refer to the Marble Gall at our talks and on our walks and usually comment that they are regularly confused with Oak Apple Galls which we have never seen. On the Orchard Walk in May we saw one for the first time and this was on the border of a patch of woodland near New Wallace Farm. Seen in the photo it was as described in the books – much larger than the Marble Gall (about 4 to 5 times its size) and soft and spongy rather than the hard and smooth of the Marble Gall. Parts of England still celebrate Oak Apple Day and this is often associated with the restoration of the Stuart monarchy after the Commonwealth period under Oliver Cromwell. Towns and villages like St Neot in Cornwall, Upton Gray in Hampshire and Upton upon Severn all celebrate the occasion in different ways but often involve parading through the village, wearing or carrying oak sprigs and ending up at the local pub. It is sometimes referred to as Shick-shack day (a term for the Oak Apple) or Oak and Nettle Day. The gall is caused by a wasp which lays its eggs in the tree and the larva injects chemicals which cause the gall to form and provide the larva with a food supply.