How can one tree produce two different fruits? Reader’s nature queries

Ethna Viney on grey squirrels, handsome mushrooms, snail eggs and apple trees

 

I was stuck in traffic at Knockmaroon when I saw a grey squirrel looking back at me before it ran off along the telephone wires.

Pat O'Donoghue, Castleknock, Dublin 15

This is one of a group of handsome mushrooms that grew this year at the end of our garden under trees. One was 5 inches across and another 7-and-a-half inches.

Norma Jessop, Hillside Drive, Dublin 14

They are parasol mushrooms. They are edible, particularly when young.

My daughter Elizabeth found this gall on a fallen sally leaf and wondered what it was.

Seán Ó Súilleabháin, Ballingeary, Co Cork

It’s the gall of the sallow pea-gall sawfly, which contains a larva. It forms on the underleaf centre rib.

There’s a tree on the side of the path on our road that has produced two different fruits, apples and red berries. How can this happen?

Joe Brophy, Rathfarnham, Dublin 14

A tree can be encouraged to produce more than one fruit by grafting on a species of the same family. Apple belongs to the Malus or rose family, and other members of the genus, such as cherries or plums etc, may succeed as a graft.

I found what looked like a little string of pearls in old compost. Can they be identified?

Terry Moylan, Bluebell Road Dublin 12

They look like slug or snail eggs.

How rare are apples like this one?

Anthony Deevy, Waterford

I’d say it’s rare, although I came across a similar one in Shuttlecock online.

Ethna Viney welcomes observations and photographs at Thallabawn, Louisburgh, Co Mayo, F28 F978, or by email at viney@anu.ie. Include a postal address.

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