Can anyone identify this fungus/berry/whatever?

Can anyone identify this fungus/berry/whatever?

Thru-Hiker
Thru-Hiker

June 28th, 2012, 5:56 pm #1

My Mom has a few big oak trees in her front yard in central Texas. There's quite a few of these berry looking things on the ground, and I'm having trouble finding what they are. Not even sure what to google. Figure someone here might know.

There isn't any obvious fungus in the trees, they look healthy. And I can't see anywhere that these are even growing. And there are no obvious groupings on the ground, the berries are all randomly strewn.

Pic isn't great, the colors are red and kind of a cream color all speckled.

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Ketira
Ketira

June 28th, 2012, 6:13 pm #2

....pick one up (with gloves, just in case it's poisonous), wrap it up, and take it over to that place's horticultural center/office/whatever. Ask them about it just to see if it's poisonous or not. Chances are, they'd know...

...and it's what I'd do, since there's one in my town.
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snark
snark

June 28th, 2012, 7:11 pm #3

My Mom has a few big oak trees in her front yard in central Texas. There's quite a few of these berry looking things on the ground, and I'm having trouble finding what they are. Not even sure what to google. Figure someone here might know.

There isn't any obvious fungus in the trees, they look healthy. And I can't see anywhere that these are even growing. And there are no obvious groupings on the ground, the berries are all randomly strewn.

Pic isn't great, the colors are red and kind of a cream color all speckled.

If the objects are rather hard and somewhat wood-like, it's probably a gall wasp... most species cause galls on the underside of leaves, but there are others which sit on roots only... with a multitude of color and shape options. If it's really a gall, then there's a tiny larva inside, protected by the plant tissue. As far as I know, they don't harm oak trees - at least, here in europe - I don't know about Texas
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Thru-Hiker
Thru-Hiker

June 28th, 2012, 8:07 pm #4

chicken dinner!!





Looks like an oak gall.

Much appreciated!
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FleetCommander
FleetCommander

June 29th, 2012, 1:04 am #5

My Mom has a few big oak trees in her front yard in central Texas. There's quite a few of these berry looking things on the ground, and I'm having trouble finding what they are. Not even sure what to google. Figure someone here might know.

There isn't any obvious fungus in the trees, they look healthy. And I can't see anywhere that these are even growing. And there are no obvious groupings on the ground, the berries are all randomly strewn.

Pic isn't great, the colors are red and kind of a cream color all speckled.

Each state has a Cooperative Extension Service, managed by the land-grant universities. Each county in a state should have their own Extension office, and they've usually got an expert or two for such things. And since they're local, they've usually got some interesting tidbits about your area.

I work with our county Extension office a lot--they also manage the 4-H programs for the county.

Jason
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keantoken
keantoken

June 29th, 2012, 4:03 am #6

chicken dinner!!





Looks like an oak gall.

Much appreciated!
I'm from Texas and I haven't seen these before except recently. Insect migration?
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Thru-Hiker
Thru-Hiker

June 29th, 2012, 4:32 am #7

Each state has a Cooperative Extension Service, managed by the land-grant universities. Each county in a state should have their own Extension office, and they've usually got an expert or two for such things. And since they're local, they've usually got some interesting tidbits about your area.

I work with our county Extension office a lot--they also manage the 4-H programs for the county.

Jason
If I was local I'd probably explore that option or the local University. But I'm 1500 miles away, and Mom doesn't get around too well anymore.

She planted the trees when they were still less than 6' tall more than 50 years ago, and they are spectacular now. Central Texas gets pretty hot, but the three oaks give her house plenty of shade. But with huge trees comes the fear of branches dropping on the house and damaging the roof. I've been out there a few times and ran cables from eye-bolts to different branches just to keep them tight, and cut a bunch too.

She was worried she might have a fungal infestation that would weaken the branches, so you guys were a big help.

Side note... in all seriousness, I know this is a paintball based message board, but there are very few things I don't feel confident that I couldn't find the info here if I needed it. No matter how obscure, the depth of knowledge here is astounding.

You guys rock.
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Solar
Solar

June 29th, 2012, 8:01 am #8

The oaks growing alongside our house have been old already when I was a kid. They are at least a hundred years old, probably older. If they would drop branches, our shed whould be history, so naturally I have an eye on them.

I'm by no means a pro, but my recommendation is: DON'T do cable rigging. Oaks respond rather well to cutting, and any elaborate cabling would increase the risk of a rotten branch taking down (or severely damaging) the healthy one if it comes down. By cutting away too heavy or rotten branches, the tree has the reserves for the healthy branches taking up their place in a couple of years.

Any oak tree has some rot in it, which makes them such great homes for insects, birds, squirrels and the like, so don't cut everything away - only the stuff that looks like it might fall.

Again, I'm not a pro, but that is what we've done for three generations, and it worked well for us.
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MephitMark
MephitMark

June 29th, 2012, 6:15 pm #9

My Mom has a few big oak trees in her front yard in central Texas. There's quite a few of these berry looking things on the ground, and I'm having trouble finding what they are. Not even sure what to google. Figure someone here might know.

There isn't any obvious fungus in the trees, they look healthy. And I can't see anywhere that these are even growing. And there are no obvious groupings on the ground, the berries are all randomly strewn.

Pic isn't great, the colors are red and kind of a cream color all speckled.

The mushroom that we see, is just a small part of the actual fungus. In this case it could be a huge structure under ground. The function of the mushroom part is the reproductive part of the fungus, which disburses the spores.
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Ironbadger
Ironbadger

June 30th, 2012, 7:52 am #10

My Mom has a few big oak trees in her front yard in central Texas. There's quite a few of these berry looking things on the ground, and I'm having trouble finding what they are. Not even sure what to google. Figure someone here might know.

There isn't any obvious fungus in the trees, they look healthy. And I can't see anywhere that these are even growing. And there are no obvious groupings on the ground, the berries are all randomly strewn.

Pic isn't great, the colors are red and kind of a cream color all speckled.

Typical oak gall.

-Badger-
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