Slow and steady

Moving slowly through the UK countryside

Stars on larch branch, and sputniks


Another walk – and a twenty minute run (hurrah!) on a lovely sunshiny afternoon.  I took my camera, which was a bit of a hindrance while running, but it was good to keep a record of some of the natural wonders I saw. I loved the look of these rosettes of leaves growing directly out of a larch branch – and the lichen too.


Leaf rosettes growing directly out of a larch branch.

These are galls caused by a gall wasp, Diplolepis nervosa (according to Britain’s Plant Galls by Michael Chinery), and are called either Sputnik Galls or Spiked Pea Galls. Sputnik does it for me. Aren’t they gorgeous?

Sputnik galls

Sputnik Galls, caused by the gall wasp Diplonepis nervosa


Author: Hedwigia

Gardener, wildlife geek, and very slow runner.

4 thoughts on “Stars on larch branch, and sputniks

  1. The Sputnik galls are really lovely and strange…what are they though?

    • I think it’s the plant’s own response to the gall wasp laying its eggs – maybe the eggs cause a plant growth hormone to be produced somehow (I don’t really know!) – very weird, isn’t it? And where does that amazing colour come from? I suppose the rose flowers are pink, but not really that fluorescent pink. They’re quite small – about 5 or 6 mm across.

      Nature is very strange!

  2. Whatever they, they are pretty and interesting looking. Unique is the word I wanted. Great pics and congrats on the run!

  3. I know the `oak apples`produced by the oak gall wasp but I`d never seen that pink variation. How lovely! I always learn something from your blog. Thank you! And hey, good going on the twenty minute run!

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