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British Moths
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If disturbed the moth displays its orange hindwings with blue-black spots and can produce a clear yellow fluid from two ducts just behind the head. The larvae can be seen from August to late the following June. The larvae are hairy and known as the "Woolly Bear". They sometimes feed and bask in sunshine and may be seen moving rapidly across bare ground when fully grown. They pupate in a thin cocoon among vegetation on or near the ground Caterpillar Food Plants A wide variety of herbaceous plants, including Common Nettle Broad-leaved Dock and many garden plants. Habitat A wide range of generally rather open habitats, including gardens, damp meadows, fens, riverbanks, sand-dunes and open woodland. Distribution Countries – England, Wales, Scotland
Garden Tiger
Flies by day, particularly in warm or sunny conditions. They overwinter as pupae in plant debris. The larvae can be found from late June to mid August in the south, or early July to early September further north, feeding between spun leaves Caterpillar Food Plants Birch, Bog Myrtle, also occasionally on sallow. Habitat Coppiced deciduous woodland, boggy moorland and on one site in the Somerset Levels Distribution Countries – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland Nationally Scarce B. Widely distributed in western Scotland, and perhaps overlooked in some areas, with scattered sites in north Wales, northern England, the West Midlands and now very locally in southern England
Argent & Sable
The caterpillar is a dark brown-ish green, with bright yellow spots along the body and a red horn above the tail, usually only seen in years of high influxes. The moth overwinters as a pupa, usually unsuccessfully in the UK (probably due to high rainfall). Caterpillar Food Plants Bedstraws (Galium spp), Rosebay Willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium), madders and fuchsias. Habitat Coastal, breeding on sand dunes, though can be found inland on waste ground Distribution Countries - England, Scotland and Wales
Bedstraw Hawk-moth
Brimstone Moth
An unmistakable yellow moth with chestnut-brown markings on the tips and along the leading edge of the forewings. They also have a white crescent or dash near to the leading forewing edge. They can frequently be seen on the wing just before dusk and they are regularly attracted to light. Some overwinter as part-grown larvae on the foodplant but others as pupae in cocoons on the plant, in debris below it or in a crack in a wall. Caterpillar Food Plants A range of trees and bushes including Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), Hawthorn, and Rowan. Habitat Hedgerows, garden, scrub and woodland. Distribution Countries – England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland
Bee Hawk-moths are more agile than the bumble-bees they resemble. They feed when flying, have long clubbed antennae and are much larger than the superficially similar bee-flies. The Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth has reddish-brown bands on the wings and abdomen but this may appear black as the hairs wear off. Active in late-morning and early-afternoon sunshine, feeding on nectar of Honeysuckle in particular, but also Bugle, Ragged Robin, Rhododendron, louseworts and Aubretia Caterpillar Food Plants Wild Honeysuckle,but also occasionally on cultivated honeysuckles and Snowberry. Habitat Prefers foodplants in shrubby habitats, particularly in woodland and heathland. Distribution Countries – England, Wales
Broad-bordered Bee Hawk-moth
Cinnabar
This species is so named due to the colour of the hindwings and the markings on the forewings which make it unmistakeable. There is little variation although on rare occasions the pinkish markings are replaced with yellow, or the forewing is red with a black border or the wings are completely black. Easily disturbed by day and flies in sunshine. Also flies after dark. Caterpillar Food Plants Feeds on the leaves and flowers of Common Ragwort (Senecio jacobaea). Occasionally found on other ragworts and groundsels. Habitat Frequent in open grassy habitats including waste ground, railway banks, gardens and woodland rides but perhaps most frequent on well drained rabbit-grazed grassland, mature sand-dunes and heathland. Distribution Countries – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland
Clouded Buff
The clear differences between the male and female of this moth led them to be originally described as separate species. The female is smaller than the male with orange-red veins on the forewing and usually a greater degree of black on the hindwing. The male flies in sunshine and is easily disturbed by day. The female is sometimes found at rest on vegetation by day but seems to fly very infrequently. Both sexes are active at night. The caterpillars can be found from July to the following April or May. Caterpillar Food Plants Heathers and other herbs including Sheep’s Sorrel (Rumex acetosella), Devil’s-bit Scabious (Succisa pratensis), Common Dog- violet (Viola riviniana) and plantains. Habitat Favours heathland and moorland but occasionally found on chalk and limestone grassland, and in open woodland areas. Distribution Countries – England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland
Similar in appearance to the Lunar Hornet Moth it can be distinguished by the yellow patches on the head and shoulder and a black collar. The adults can be found resting on poplar trunks after they have emerged in June. They overwinter at least twice as larvae for the first and sometimes second winter and as fully grown larvae in cocoons for the second or third winter. They mainly feed on the wood just below the bark surface near ground level and emerge from a hole near the base of the trunk Caterpillar Food Plants Black-poplar, Aspen, and other poplars Habitat Parks, hedgerows, golf courses, quarries, fens, pond edges and pits, particularly where there are trees in open habitats. Distribution Countries – England and Wales
Hornet Moth
This moth can be distinguished from the Large Red-belted and Red- tipped Clearwings by the absence of any red markings on the forewings. The adults are occasionally seen flying around apple trees in the afternoon. The caterpillars can be found feeding underneath the bark of the foodplant from August to the following May, overwintering as larvae. Caterpillar Food Plants Apple, including Crab Apple and also Pear, Hawthorn, Almond (Prunus dulcis) and Rowan Habitat Well established orchards and gardens, hedgerows, open woodland and mature scrub Distribution Countries – Southern England and Wales
Red-belted Clearwing
Scarlet Tiger
This tropical-looking moth is very distinctive. Rarely, individuals with yellow hindwings or yellow spots on the forewings occur, and in some forms the hindwings may be extensively black. Frequently flies in sunshine, particularly in late afternoon and early evening for the males. Can also be found during the day resting on leaves. Also flies at night . Caterpillar Food Plants Common Comfrey, Hemp Agrimony and Hound’s Tongue. When larger the caterpillars are often found feeding on Common Nettle, Bramble, sallows, Honeysuckle and Meadowsweet. Habitat Frequents a variety of wetland and coastal habitats, including fens, riverine habitats, floodplains and the upper parts of beaches. The species can also occur in gardens, woodland and along ditches. Distribution Countries – Southern England, Wales
A very scarce immigrant from southern Europe with only a handful of recent records. In the 19th century, it bred several times on the south coast of England, most often on Spurge. The adult resembles the more frequent Bedstraw Hawk-moth (Hyles gallii), but has a distinctive rosy tinge to the underside, as well as more solid markings on the upperwing. The appearance of the caterpillars varies Caterpillar Food Plants Perennial herbaceous spurges; larvae rarely found in Britain, though did breed several times on the south coast in 19th century, usually on Spurge. Habitat Breeds abroad in sunny habitats, such as field margins and coastal sand dunes. Distribution South of England only
Spurge Hawk-moth
This species has an annual life cycle. It flies by day in a spinning motion that can be difficult to follow. Adults are seen in May, June and into July, but has been recorded in late April, August and September. The caterpillar feeds from July until autumn on the leaves and flowers of the foodplant, goldenrod, inhabiting a slight silken web under the lower leaves. It is found in south-east woodlands in Kent, Sussex and Surrey, otherwise recently recorded from several sites in north-west England Caterpillar Food Plants Caterpillars feed on the flowers and leaves of Goldenrod and occasionally dyer's greenweed. Habitat Can be found in woodland glades and margins, also rough hillsides and cliffs, particularly on limestone. Distribution Countries – England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland
White-spotted Sable
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