Robin’s pincushion

Every so often nature springs a surprise. This dog rose in Cliff Ridge Wood appears to have grown some pretty little red “flowers”. These are in fact galls, a reaction in the plant tissue to the laying of eggs in the leaf buds by a gall wasp, Diplolepis rosae. The wasp lays up to 60 eggs which develop into grubs protected inside the woody gall which is hidden inside the “flowers”. Interestingly the wasp is parthenogenetic which means the wasp can reproduce without male fertilisation. Only a very small percentage of the grubs are males. The gall is also known as the rose bedeguar gall and has some medicinal use in the treatment of colic, toothache and as a diuretic. Also if you are suffering from a receding hairline you could try a lotion of the dried powder of the gall mixed with honey. A rather sticky shampoo.
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