To make up for some of my recent extra-long posts, here’s one that’s short and sweet… If something involving rhubarb can be called sweet.
The vast majority of email queries I receive are along the lines of, “here’s something I wondered about and I figured it was easier to just ask you than look it up in your book.” But every once in a while, I get one in the form of, “I found this weird thing I’ve never seen before, and I couldn’t find anything like it in your book or in the whole internet!” The latter type is of course more interesting to me, but sometimes I can’t do much to help besides put the thing on the internet and see what happens. So here goes.
Yesterday David Gregg of the Rhode Island Natural History Survey found this thing growing out of the midrib of a rhubarb leaf at his house:
I’m thinking that if there were a regularly occurring gall on a common garden plant like rhubarb, it would be well documented. So I suspect this is some kind of freak mutation. The thing at the end of the “string” coming out the middle of the “satellite dish” looks vaguely like the winged fruit of rhubarb, so maybe this one part of the plant just got some mixed genetic signals? Has anyone seen something like this before, or does anyone have anything more intelligent to say about it?