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enter image description here

(click to enlarge)

I found a seed I would like to identify. Found outdoors in early August in Columbus, OH (zone 6). [The seed is almost perfectly round and about 1 1/8" in diameter, though it was slightly larger when first found. When found, the outer skin was smooth and pale yellow/green. Within about a week (indoors) it began to turn light tan and the outer skin had begun to shrivel and wrinkle.]

I also found one last year that was growing. While weeding, I pulled it up and discovered the seed still attached. The seed had split in half, with both halves still attached. It had 4-6 inch roots and about a 12-14 inch plant grown by late summer. It looked like a tree, with a single woody stem.

  • Any chance you have a photo of the leaves? – Ben Aug 15 '17 at 12:30
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    I could have sworn that it was an Oak Apple ( en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak_apple). Then you said you saw one growing. Can you cut it in half and post a pic? Here is another link (www2.fcps.edu/islandcreekes/ecology/oak_apple_gall_wasp.htm) – That Idiot Aug 15 '17 at 17:10
  • The plant we pulled up last year did not survive re-potting. As I recall, the leaves were somewhat thick, and came off the branch as single leaves, Unlike the leaflets on my black walnut trees which have 8-12 leaves coming off one leaf stem. I am not positive last year's plant came from the same kind of seed, but its seed was very near the size as the one I found this year and almost perfectly round. – Mary F Aug 17 '17 at 8:02
  • Mary, can you cut this one so we can see inside? – That Idiot Aug 17 '17 at 12:40
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It's hard to tell from that angle but it looks like a walnut (google images link). There are several related species (wikipedia), two of which are edible and have multiple cultivars. This is probably one of the edible types as squirrels bury them, either taking them from the tree or people putting them out as food.

I have seen one as a weed in a pot in my garden, presumably buried by a squirrel. It looked like you describe; when I pulled it up the nut was attached. I replanted it and after a few years have a tree a couple of feet high (still in a pot; walnuts are toxic to other species with shich they share soil). You're unlikely to get nuts from a tree grown in a pot as the tree has to reach a mature size before fruiting.

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I am almost certain that what you have there is an oak apple wasp gall. I actually grew up in Columbus Ohio and I can tell you that I can't think of any seed that looks anything like this in Ohio. Sometimes they fall off the tree when they are green/yellow and they eventually dry to be this color. It's a cool find nonetheless!

Oak Apple Wasp Galls are very light and easily crushed. If you open it up you'll see an interesting matrix of fuzzy stuff with a developing egg in the center.

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  • I am storing it in the fridge for a while and will pot it this winter. If it grows, I'll post pics of the leaves. If it doesn't grow, I'll pull it out and cut it in half and go fishing for that wasp inside! There is an oak tree growing very near the spot where the "seed" was found, I will search the tree for more galls and report back with a pic if I find some. THANKS – Mary F Aug 17 '17 at 8:15
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Thank you, Tyler K. I do believe you have answered my Question. I found another of the "seeds". I cut it open. and found a core about the size of a large apple seed.

Notice the round white ball in the center capsule of the core. Then I opened the capsule even more.enter image description here and found that white ball to be very soft and sticky and attached to the wall of its capsule.
enter image description here

Indeed it does appear to be an oak apple wasp gall, and not a seed at all!

I suppose the one saved in the refrigerator for eventual potting is not going to be sprouting a plant next spring!

Thanks to all for your help with this "Mystery seed"!

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