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Plant Galls (Collins New Naturalist Library, Book 117) [Format Kindle]

Margaret Redfern

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A much-needed study on plant galls – growths on plants formed of plant tissue that are caused by other organisms.

Most naturalists have come across oak apples, robin’s pincushions, marble galls and witches’ brooms, a few of the more familiar examples of the strange growths that are plant galls. They are beautiful, often bizarre and colourful, and amazingly diverse in structure and in the organisms which cause them. They have been known since ancient times and have attracted superstitions and folk customs. Both the ancient Greeks and the Chinese used them in herbal medicine, and until well into the nineteenth century, they had a variety of commercial uses: important for dyeing cloth, tanning leather and for making ink.

Knowledge of gall types increased during the late nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth century as more species were described and their structure became more clearly understood, and yet even today, little is known about the mechanisms that cause gall formation as well as the life cycles of the organisms that initiate gall growth. Since most galls do not cause any economic damage to crop plants, research funding has traditionally been sparse in this area. However, the insect cycles and gall structures are amazing examples of the complexity of nature.

Margaret Redfern explores these fascinating complexities in this New Naturalist volume, providing much-needed insight into the variety of galls of different types caused by a wide range of organisms including fungi, insects and mites. She discusses the ecology of galls more generally and focuses on communities of organisms within galls, the evolution and distribution of galls, as well as human and historical perspectives.

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 36753 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 576 pages
  • Editeur : Collins (28 avril 2011)
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B00594425Q
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
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  • Composition améliorée: Non activé
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: n°629.536 dans la Boutique Kindle (Voir le Top 100 dans la Boutique Kindle)

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5.0 étoiles sur 5 FUNGI praise for Plant Galls 23 novembre 2015
Par B. Bunyard - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat vérifié
Plant Galls
New Naturalist Library, 117
Margaret Redfern
2011; Harper Collins; 562 pages
ISBN: 9780002201445 paper, $45.00

As a plant pathology student back in grad school, I became familiar with the few dozen common plant galls that the average Midwestern homeowner was likely to find afflicting their tree or shrub, and which would be sent to the plant disease diagnostics lab for identification and prognosis. This exposure was enough to scratch the surface of a huge group of pathogens of plants, caused by disparate groups of organisms, primarily fungi and insects, but just about every other creature as well (bacteria, viruses, nematodes, mites, even other plants). I’m sure there was a CRC compendium I could have tracked down in the library but never did. A few times a year, every year since I graduated, I’ve been asked to ID some plant gall and had to jog my memory or give my best guess. So, when a few years ago the good people at the California Natural History Guides published their Field Guide to Plant Galls of California and Other Western States, I immediately purchased a copy. And although geared to the West, this book works very well for plant galls found across North America. Besides being organized as a good comprehensive guide (more than 300 species are covered), the Guide does a good job at briefly discussing the life cycles of the varied groups of gall-making organisms. Still, I’ve always wished there were some companion to this field guide that could more thoroughly cover the life history and science of these fascinating parasites. Presenting the perfect companion to the Field Guide: Margaret Redfern’s comprehensive Plant Galls.
Plant Galls is essentially a text book on the topic with excellent illustrations and well-written text that’s comprehensible to anyone, no matter if you’ve never even set foot in a college classroom. Fungi make up a good chunk of the coverage, but by no means all, mind you. There are sections on all the other major groups of gall causers. Plus fascinating sections on how galls are caused, the evolution of the many different gall inducers, and even the many symbioses involved. Did you know that some insects that cause galls to form on plants, bring their own fungi along, that the fungi grow inside the galls, and that the insects then feed exclusively on the fungi growing inside the galls? You will marvel at a totally other world, hidden from most of us. Food webs of inquilines (insects that feed exclusively on gall tissue); insect parasites that seek out the larvae of gall-inducers; hyperparasites that attack the larvae of the parasites. From “Virescences and Witches’ Brooms” to “Pits, Blisters and Pouches” and from roots and stems, up to buds, leaves, and fruits, it’s all here. The last two chapters take the reader in a totally different direction, but were just as interesting. “Galls and People” covers the ethnobotany (ethnocecidology?—did I just coin a new term?) or use of galls for nutritional, medicinal or other uses by people. “Galls in History” documents the long history of cecidology, or study of galls, dating back to at least Theophrastus in the 3rd century BC.
(Review originally published in FUNGI, 2012, vol no.4.)
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