Lime Nail Galls :: Nature Study - Eva Varga

February 27, 20123

Zonnah, a fellow homeschool mom and Outdoor Hour participant, recently posted her gall study and it reminded me of galls we observed in Norway.  While there, I had asked around but no one knew what they were.   Months later, I posted my spotting on Project Noah, spotting #7418081.  A recent clue leads me to believe these galls were formed by Eriophyes tiliae or Lime Nail Gall.  These chemically induced galls form an erect, oblique or curved distortion rising up from the upper surface of the leaves of the common lime tree Tilia x europaea.

Lime Nail Galls

Mites move onto the foliage in the spring, having overwintered in the crevices of the bark and around the buds.  The mites are less than 0.2 mm long.  The chemicals released while sucking the sap from the lower leaf epidermis creates the colorful, hollow, finger-like extensions to form on the upper surface of the leaf.  Before autumn, the mites, which have been actively feeding and growing inside the galls, depart from their little ‘homes’ and seek shelter elsewhere on the lime tree whereby the cycle begins anew.


  • Zonnah

    March 6, 2012 at 7:10 pm

    Very cool! Thanks for letting me know what it is 🙂

  • Barb-Harmony Art Mom

    March 9, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    I was looking through a California Gall field guide and realized just how many different kinds of galls there are to learn about. Thanks for sharing your research and your interesting images.

  • See Jamie blog

    April 1, 2012 at 1:30 am

    Interesting! We have some strange things sort of like that but a bit different on a couple of our trees. I’m going to have to see if I can find out exactly WHAT ours are.

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