This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
This is the name the shrub bears that produces the triangular seeds that during six or eight months have a continual jumping movement. The shrub is small, from four to six feet in height, branchy, and in the months of June and July yields the seeds, a pod containing three to five seeds. These seeds have each a little worm inside. The leaf of the plant is very similar to that of the 'Garambullo,' the only difference being in the size, this being a little larger. It is half an inch in length and a quarter of an inch in width, a little more or less. The bark of the shrub is ash-colored, and the leaf is perfectly green during all the seasons. By merely stirring coffee, or any drink, with a small branch of it, it acts as an active cathartic. Taken in large doses it is an active poison, speedily causing death unless counteracted by an antidote".
Mr. Riley stated that the seed of Tamariscus was known to be moved by a Coleopterous larva (Nanodes tamarisci) that fed within it; and he concluded by describing and exhibiting a still more wonderful jumping property in a seed-like body which may be observed in our own woods. It is a little spherical seed-like gall produced in large numbers on the underside of the Post and other oaks of the White Oak group. This gall drops in large quantities to the ground, and the insect within can make it bound twenty times its own length, the ground under an infested tree being sometimes fairly alive with the mysterious moving bodies. The noise made often resembles the pattering of rain. The motion is imparted by the insect in the pupa and not in the larva state. He presented the following description of the gall, which may be known by the name of Quercus saltatorious, the black fly which issues from it having been described as Cynips saltatorious by Mr. H. Edwards, of San Francisco, addressed to the Academy of Sciences, St. Louis, Dec. 6th, 1877.