Oak gall ink

More about our oaks.

Last year was a good year in the park for all kinds of wasps. A FoSCP member found a common wasps’ nest in a crack in the ground, caused by the drought, right in the middle of Cornfield. European hornets were spotted hunting in the Lone Oak again. The knopper gall wasps had a field day and there were more knopper galls under some oak trees in October than there were acorns.

There was also a good crop of the various round galls we call oak apples, all caused by gall wasps. In the past oak galls were harvested to make ink.

Oak gall ink was made with crushed oak galls, ferrous sulfate and gum arabic. It was the standard ink formulation used in Europe for the fourteen-hundred year period between the 5th and 19th centuries. It remained in widespread use well into the 20th century, and is still sold today.

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