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galls on Bitter Cherry - Eriophyes emarginatae

galls on Bitter Cherry - Eriophyes emarginatae
Morse Wildlife Preserve, Pierce County, Washington, USA
May 7, 2010

Images of this individual: tag all
galls on Bitter Cherry - Eriophyes emarginatae galls on Bitter Cherry - Eriophyes emarginatae galls on Bitter Cherry - Eriophyes emarginatae galls on Bitter Cherry - Eriophyes emarginatae

Moved from ID Request. Yup, that's the species I was thinking of.

Bitter Cherry gall mite
There's one Bitter Cherry gall mite that sounds like this one listed in Ron Russo's galls book. The species is Phytoptus emarginatae. It occurs on several species of Prunus but especially on Bitter Cherry. The mite is apparently widespread across N.A. and Europe.

Following up on plant name
I am not familiar with "Indian Plum", so looked it up. It is Oemleria cerasiformis; however, it is described as having untoothed leaf margins. I wonder if the serrate-margined leaf in your photo might belong to another member of the Rosaceae such as Bitter Cherry (Prunus emarginata)? The rounded leaf tip of that species would be consistent with yours and would also distinguish it from other plum species in the genus Prunus that have pointed tips. Just a guess on my part since I am not familiar with either one from personal experience!

Bitter Cherry
I think you are right. I did not have my expert plant help when I was at this tree/bush and I ID'd it from memory of location, since it was not blooming. :) Not a good idea in hindsight... esp. with my memory. Here is the plant that was ID'd as bitter cherry on that site by the expert. It looks like a match to me.

No worries
Bitter Cherry and Indian Plum look very similar, so easily understandable how one could be mistaken for the other. I had the luxury of sitting at my desk with several books and Internet channels open for a leisurely perusal of images and descriptions - not an option in the field! Even then, I sometimes don't know where to start with an unfamiliar species, so a tentative ID by the submitter often provides a helpful prompt even if it turns out to be something else in the end. In this very case, the word "plum" and its rose family connection helped to narrow the field of starting points for my search. Plus I learned a new species!

I think these are mite galls
Do you have a shot of the underside of the leaf?
The wasps might be parasitoids of some other plum-feeding insect--there are no known wasp galls on Prunus, as far as I know.

I added more images... not from that day, but I collected some leaves and have been watching them to see what happens. They appear to have grown in height. I could have the plant ID wrong, it wouldn't be the first time. I'll double check that.

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