Saturday 17 June 2017

Visiting the Valerian

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).
 Very common.

 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).
Very common.

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.


chm said...

I didn't know that Valerian was so attractive to so many species.

Susan said...

Yes, I would say it's as good as lavender at attracting nectar feeders like moths, butterflies and flies. Not so attractive to bees for some reason.

Colin and Elizabeth said...

It's quite common around here both wild and cultivated, we pictured it in our blog here. Elizabeth is trying to get a plant for our garden!!!

Susan said...

We've got it in our front courtyard. The hummers especially like it.

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