One of the places we took Annette and Bruce when they visited from Australia recently was Ferrière Larçon. Along the path to Saint Mandé's magic spring the Red Valerian Centranthus ruber (Fr. Valériane rouge) growing on the wall was teaming with lepidoptera.
Annette, Bruce and Simon heading back towards the church.
Male Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni (Fr. Citron).
Dark Green Fritillary Argynnis aglaja (Fr. Grand Nacré).
This is a new species for me, so I was rather excited. The field guide says it is common and conspicuous in the Touraine Loire Valley and the Brenne, but somehow it has never flitted across my eyeline. Its caterpillar food plant is wild violets (Hairy Violet, Marsh Violet) and the adult butterfly frequents flowery grassland, forest edges and heathland.
Dark Green Fritillary.
Hummingbird Hawk Moth Macroglossum stellartarum (Fr. Moro sphinx).
Peacock Aglais io (Fr. Paon du jour).
These were by no means the only species enjoying the valerian. There were also Small Whites, Painted Ladies, Meadow Browns and Broad Bordered Bee Hawk Moths.