Dasineura investita or wood nettle gall midge galls

Wood Nettles Don’t Have Berries!

We have several big patches of wood nettles that we harvest from every year. But by the end of summer, I tend to stop foraging. Which means I more or less quit noticing them by September.

Which made me miss something!

I hiked by this particular wood nettle (Laportea canadensis) patch recently and I told Lance, who was ahead of me on the trail, that our nettles appeared to have little green berries on them.

Galls on the wood nettles
Galls on the wood nettles

That couldn’t be right, I thought. If nettles had fruits of some sort, I would have known. Wouldn’t I? I mean, I’ve been eating wood nettles for years now.

This particular patch was looking a little ragged. It had come up, endured a few harvests, bloomed, and was starting to look frayed at the edges. Lots of leaves were missing, and they looked nearly ready to succomb to the first frost, due any time now.

Nettle patch in late September
Nettle patch in late September

And yet, berries?

I took photos and came home to do some research.

Turns out that come September, our nettles become hosts to the wood nettle gall midge (Dasineura investita).

Dasineura investita or wood nettle gall midge galls
Dasineura investita or wood nettle gall midge galls

It’s entirely possible that the nettles get midge galls on them earlier in the summer, but I’ve never noticed that.

And I found very little information on the internet about the midges, but there were plenty of other people like me online who were asking “Do these wood nettles have berries?”

These mountains keep teaching me things, and I’m doing my best to keep up!

Oh, nearly forgot. Here’s a bonus photo of Pippi, who came along for this hike.

Pippi on our hike
Pippi on our hike

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6 comments on “Wood Nettles Don’t Have Berries!

  1. They look beautiful! And apparently don’t hurt the plant.

  2. Mindy Meade

    Absolutely amazing. I became enthralled with Galls when I first saw and researched the Goldenrod gall fly. There is so much about Nature that my lifetime will never know about…but, I’ll keep on being amazed as long as I can.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe

      Yes, the goldenrod ones, which we see everywhere. The other cool one (that I am for-EV-er picking up off the ground) is the apple oak gall. So fascinating!

  3. Such pretty little things, seems a shame to call them galls. That’s a very pretty kitty too. Our Clyde almost always goes for walks with us.

    • Lisa Creech Bledsoe

      They are good companions on a hike, our cats. Sounds like yours is, too!

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