The Search for Robin’s Pincushion

This is Robin’s Pincushion.

Robin's PincushionI haven’t seen one of these for years (This is a very old photo)

Well I saw one last night on Clare’s blog “A Suffolk Lane” and I thought to myself, “I haven’t seen one of those in ages.” So Today Fizz and I went to look for one.

They grow on roses and we have lots of wild roses in the hedgerows around the farm, I packed sandwiches and water and off we went.

FizzFizz ate all of the sandwiches almost as soon as we were out of the door so that left me free to poke around in the hedgerow and take photographs. Here are some of the things that we found.

We found miles and miles of cable running through the hedge and thought, “Hello, it looks like the Badgers have bought themselves a computer”. So we followed it.


HoneysuckleBut all there was on the end of it was some flowers.


HoneysuckleWe found lots of blue berries on the Blackthorn that weren’t really blue.


SloesThe blue dust rubbed off and they didn’t look very ripe yet.

SloesIn fact being green was beginning to feel like a theme. The Rose Hips that we had seen were still a long way off.

Rose HipsSo were the Hazelnuts.

HazelnutsElderberries were only just starting to colour up.


ElderberriesAnd the Hawthorn still has a way to go.

HawthornThe only thing that I could find to eat (Having lost my sandwiches to a card cheat earlier in the day) was the occasional Blackberry.

BlackberriesFinally we found the Rose we had been looking for.

Dog RoseThere right in the middle of the bush and just behind the friendly thorns was the sweetest little Pincushion ever.

Robin's PincushionRobin’s Pincushion is a Gall made by the wasp Diplolepis rosae. The wasp lays about sixty eggs in an unopened leaf bud of Wild Roses (Dog or Field Rose). A chemical reaction then causes this weird and wonderful distorted growth that becomes home to the wasp larvae.

Robin's Pincushion

Robin's PincushionI am really pleased that we found one today. 🙂 I haven’t seen one of these in ages.

27 thoughts on “The Search for Robin’s Pincushion”

    1. Thank you Maureen 🙂 I have been trying to find out about world wide distribution without success but I am guessing that if you have Rosa canina and Rosa arvensis then you probably have these as well.


  1. Such an fascinating adaptation. Does it hurt the plant or does it just live around it? Do the wasps feed on the rose? Thanks for another great post. Give Fizz a good ear scratch for me.


    1. Thank you Eliza 🙂 It doesn’t do any harm. The bud that she lays her eggs in becomes the food for the larvae but they don’t stray outside of the gall so it is only one leaf bud.


      1. Thanks for the reply. It sounds similar to our oak gall and goldenrod gall. They don’t really impact the growth significantly. But yours is such a pretty result!


  2. I’ve not come across one. I tried to Google and see if there is a list of countries as it’s habitat, do you know if there is a list? Your information and photographs are very interesting. Thanks for making nature available for city dwellers like me. 🙂


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