Robin’s Pincushion

posted in: Photography | 24

Have you ever heard of a Robins Pincushion?

While walking along Perth Town Lade this week with the intention of taking some photographs of  rose hips in the hedgerows I noticed something strange growing on the stems of the dog roses Rosa canina.  Strange growths with fibrous like tentacles were clustered on some of the stems  like little sea anemones.  I have walked past these roses for nearly a decade now and I’m amazed that something like this in nature has never caught my attention  before.
macro of bedeguar gall
macro of the bedeguar gall

This is a bedeguar gall commonly known as a Robin’s Pincushion.

Bedeguar gall | Robin's Pincushion | nature | Rosa canina
bedeguar galls

 Life Cycle of a Gall Wasp

Earlier in the season the gall wasp  Diplolepis rosae  laid some eggs in a stem which caused a chemical distortion.   That distortion in the stem has now turned into this eye catching spherical ball of pinkish moss.   Inside that mass there maybe  40  or 50 chambers where the larvae of the gall wasp are growing.   Then over the winter this gall will change colour to brown and become very dry looking and in May little gall wasps will hatch out. 
Bedeguar gall | Robin's Pincushion | Rosa canina
a cluster of galls on a dog rose stem


Why the name Robin?

The gall has been named after Robin Goodfellow – a mischievous sprite in English folklore otherwise known as Will O’ The Wisp and Puck.
late autumn bedeguar gall
later in autumn
What interesting things in nature have you spotted while out and about?
Rosie Nixon
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Rosie is based in Perth, Perthshire as a garden photographer, writer and nature lover. She enjoys soaking up nature in her own garden and is easily distracted from doing the weeding by anything that flutters, flies, buzzes, creeps or crawls! She enjoys sharing the beauty of creation through her photography. Rosie has been featured on TV on BBC2's The Beechgrove Garden and she uses the Scottish outdoors as her natural light studio. Her work can be seen at the only photographic gallery in Scotland - Close Gallery, 4b Howe Street, Edinburgh.

24 Responses

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    Edith Hope

    Dear Rosie, I too have never noticed these 'pincushions' before. They are indeed spectacular structures and you have given a fascinating account of them here.

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    Hello Rosie
    I am love this microscopic post on nature. By that I don't mean short but as if looking with great detail. I have vet seen on this groovy pink thing before. Will be keeping my eyes peeled.

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    Very interesting! What you say is true- I have also started to notice many things in nature after I started blogging.

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    Wow – I've never seen anything like that before and never would have guessed it's essentially a wasp's nest. Very interesting! You're right — I seem to notice things a lot more now I'm blogging about the garden. What I especially like is when you open up a photo on your computer and see something that you didn't notice when you took the photo, some tiny insect or whatever.

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    That is a beautiful little detail! It does no damage to the plant, then? I love the wonders of nature found when out on a photo safari…things that we would normally not notice.

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    Very spectacular… for a minute i thought that has to be the most bright coloured exotic flower! ~bangchik

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    That's very beautiful, I would never guess what it is. You are so right, we see things in a different way. Better said, now we really see them, before we just looked through them.
    Have a great weekend Rosie!

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    Curbstone Valley Farm

    We have various galls on our wild roses here, but nothing like these. I'm always fascinated by galls, but the Robin's pincushions are really beautiful!

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    Hi Rosie,

    Pincushions? First time for me too. It's beautiful. I must agree that photography and blogging has opened our eyes and led us to enjoy nature better. To answer your question on what I've spotted in nature recently? It's got to be MUSHROOMS!!! Come visit them.

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    The first time I saw Gall was on Aspen leaves. They look like red warts. Kind of yucky and cool at the same time.
    Very fascinating photos!

    We saw a velvet ant today!

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    Thanks for sharing these observations Rosie! Wonderful details we mostly miss. I do not recall ever seeing this sort of pincushion. Beautiful photos! ;>)

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    This was an interesting post and the wasp hatchery is incredible. I have never seen anything like it.

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    What a wonderful & informative post. I need to do a much better job at finding nature's smaller treasures

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    This was so interesting! The Robin's pincushion is really pretty. Does it harm the plant?
    My daughter has been reading a series where Puck (who I see Robin is also known as) is a main character. This little trick of the wasps seems to go along perfectly with his mischievous ways.

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    Hi Rosie,

    I've not seen such a beautiful flowers like this before! It's just so special to see..

    Thank you for your words of comfort on my blog..I'm so touched by your kindness!

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    Positively fascinating, Rosie! Not only have I never seen this, I've never heard of it! I love it!

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    Never heard/seen anything like this! It's beautiful and thanks for the post!

    As for your question on my blog about lizards…the moment they realize someone's watching them they dive into the midst of the foliage or in the grass. Not the easiest creatures to photograph I must say!

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