I ran across this plan just outside of Clemson, SC. I have Never found anything like this and was hoping you could help me identity this beautiful flower. Thanks.
I have had several people ask me about this over the years. It actually isn’t a flower though it is attractive. The following is from a different internet site: “That interesting growth is a wool sower gall. It’s caused by a tiny wasplike critter that emerges as an adult in the winter and lays eggs in the bud of the tree. It seems to be specific to white oak. The result is the golf ball-size growth that you saw. In the early stages, they are attractive, but as they mature, the shell becomes brown and the young hatch from the seedlike structures inside.” The website this is from is: https://richmond.com/gardening-q-a-cottony-looking-wool-sower-gall-on-oak-tree-likely-no-cause-for/article_4c932635-f246-51e0-95f1-da89a22b7c17.html
They do not hurt the tree.
Dr. Steven Hill, Botanist, SCNPS