It looks like something out of Jurassic Park. Random red spikes sprouting on otherwise healthy-looking grape vines in the Hudson Valley had many residents scratching their heads.

"Don’t know what this is, but it looked interesting. Only a couple leaves had these growing out of them", read a recent post in the Hudson Valley Facebook group. Between the invasive species and mysterious plants that have been appearing in our area, many immediately thought the worst.

Ibrix via Canva
Ibrix via Canva
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Strange Growths in the Hudson Valley, NY

"It's creepin' me out", commented one local resident. "I saw this on Star Trek once", joked another. Someone who got a little closer to the real answer observed, "Totally confused as to what they are. They almost look like they're growing through the leaves... some kind of bug?" In fact, those spikes aren't spikes at all, it turns out. More like a cocoon...

ErikAgar via Canva
ErikAgar via Canva
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Grape Leaf Gall in the Hudson Valley, NY

After the jokes in the comment section calmed down, the real answer finally emerged. "[Those are] grape tube gall caused by A. viticola", revealed a helpful resident. Another commenter shared a helpful follow-up quote: "These galls are usually rare in vineyards, and therefore not harmful, nor are they particularly harmful towards wild plants." So what's inside these spikes?

Joe Boggs, OSU Extension
Joe Boggs, OSU Extension
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More specifically, these "spikes" are the constructed home for small maggots that will eventually mature into gall gnats. Check out the cross-section of a spike below, where you can see the maggot tucked inside. Here's what the scientists say about whether or not you need to be worried if you spot them.

Joe Boggs, OSU Extension
Joe Boggs, OSU Extension
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What Science Says about Grape Tube Gall

"These galls are more of an oddity than a real concern", reported researchers at the Ohio State University.  As the previous commenter mentioned, they are rare in the Hudson Valley, and the original poster observing that they were found "only a couple leaves" seems to back up this information. Either way, there is still a recommendation of "pruning and destroying galled tissue before new gall-midge flies are produced".

Of course, there are plants you do need to look out for in the Hudson Valley. Check 'em out below... do you know what hallucinogenic Jimsonweed looks like?

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Did you know there are plenty of plants that offer protection from mosquitoes, spiders, house flys and more? Yes, check out these natural bug repellants that are affordable and available now.