Wood woven spirals, like snails climbing leaves. Green like the shell of young fruit or nut. What do you harbor, is it friend or is it foe? It seems to take the will of the tree, and shape it to its own advantage. The stem has been flattened, pulled, and worked into a spiral. Is this a sign of attack, or a symbol of love making? Inside the cracked shell, a husk, perhaps a fallen soldier defending his colony. How might something so tiny exert such strength? These adversaries of trees are seldom seen, except by way of birds hanging around during mealtime. Fallen leaves fall and helicopter to the ground. Splitting the green seashell in half, setting aphids, as well as the tree, free. Perhaps the tree is defending itself, trying to restore balance. But the chewed, splotchy leaves indicate that it only initiates the spiraling cycle all over again.

This is the work of the Poplar spiral gall aphid (’cause I don’t do Latin). Apparently it is specific to this species of tree, so the relationship is truly unique. Which made me wonder at the battle, or if there really is a battle at all, seeing as there is a relationship that only occurs between these two, perhaps the tree is also gaining in some way! I discovered this at work and did the best I could to observe and came up with the poem above. Of course I wanted more information and specifics. While looking at the “gall” as I was to find out, at first I thought that it was some kind of symbiosis as the stem is what forms the casing. But after glancing through the wiki article it seems that it is actually genetically modified, somehow, by the little larvae inside! Pretty crazy nature at work here.

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