SOLVED: Please help me identify this tree

New Bern, NC(Zone 8a)

We live in coastal NC. Today hubby brought home a branch of a tree he found on our wooded property. On it's joints there is a white fuzzy hard ball(walnut size) with pink spots. The tree is about 6 ft tall and the green leaves are small oak shaped and fuzzy like lambs ear. Only one ball on a branch toward the end. Only 5 or 6 balls total. At first none of us would touch the white fuzzy ball because we thought it was a big bug or catapillar.
After we banged it on the potting table and it didn't move we opened it up and had little tiny seeds. Never saw such a thing. The white things are like hard cotton balls with pink spots. Does anybody know what this is? Has us baffled.
Jennifer and John Johnson

This message was edited Monday, Apr 9th 11:06 PM

Troy, VA(Zone 7a)

The only thing I can come up with is Fothergilla - the dwarf Witch Alder, but not being too familiar with native plants I'm sure I'm wrong .... :-)

Villa Rica, GA(Zone 7a)

could it be pussy willow? do a search on it and compare the two. could be but it's just a guess

New Bern, NC(Zone 8a)

Thanks for the help but not a fothergilla or a pussy willow
not many leaves, all green, and think of fuzzy balls with pink spots on them.

Is it possible that the "seeds" inside the balls were eggs?
There are some wasps that lay their eggs under the epidermis of oaks. The leaf grows wild cells on this spot, surrounding the eggs with a kind of fuzzy ball, the so-called gallapple. The insects grows inside the gallapple by eating from the inner walls. They leave the gallapple when mature.

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