Monday, October 5, 2015

In Praise of Devil's-bit Scabious























Devil's-bit scabious Succisa pratensis must be one of the best of all late summer wild flowers for providing nectar for butterflies and moths. It has a long flowering period, from late August onwards, and attracts a wide range of lepidoptera including.....

























... small white butterflies ...
























.... small coppers ....


























... several moths, including the silver Y, an immigrant that often arrives in large numbers when the scabious is at peak flowering.... 

























... peacocks ....






















... red admirals .....


















... and small tortoiseshells

























It's an easy plant to introduce into a wildlife garden but seeds need to be collected as soon as they begin to ripen, because these rather attractive heads of seed begin to fall apart and scatter as soon as they begin to dry out. I germinated seed last autumn which are now robust plants that should flower well next year.

8 comments:

  1. The saturated colors of fall are so lovely. Beautiful photos.

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    1. Thank you! The light is often lovely on misty autumn days....

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  2. Great butterflies, such a poor year for them though.

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    1. Not a great year around here, though the last couple of weeks have been pretty good

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  3. A wonderful plant, I love the buds, look like a purple blackberry. Hoverflies love it too!

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    1. Still plenty in bloom in Teesdale this morning, attracting the last of the bumblebees. definitely going to plant much more of it in my garden next year.....

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  4. Just returned from a few days based at Middleton in Teesdale to find this post, Phil. Thought of you whilst I was up there. This delightful post reminded me that Devil's-bit Scabious is the prime foodplant of the caterpillar of the Marsh Fritillary - they congregate in huge cocoons on the plants.

    Best wishes - - - Richard

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    1. Hello Richard, delighted to hear from you. Hope you enjoyed your trip to Teesdale and that the sun shone for you. I do wish that we had marsh fritillaries around here!

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