As regular readers will know, I have converted two thirds of my back garden to a wildlife garden with only native UK wild plants.
Just before you go through into the wildlife garden, the more formal garden has many cottage garden plants in it.
A couple of weeks ago, we noticed a few small caterpillars on one of the new plants that we put in this year. the plant is a Verbascum, and this type is called 'Southern Charms' and then the word mullein is mentioned.
Now Jac and had couldn't make up our minds about what type of caterpillar it was, because my caterpillar books were non existent, as all my guides tended to focus on the moth or butterfly form. Jac thought it was a Burnet as we had those in the garden last year, but given that I had photographed that a bit ago in this blog, I was certain it wasn't that, but didn't know otherwise.
Well at the same time we went to the Bird Fair that I reported here, and the good folks from the Butterfly Conservation Warwickshire said 'Oh, that's a Mullein' and showed us in the book that I mentioned recently Link below.
So we bought the book and what a great reference work it is.
Now the full latin name of the species is Shargacucullia verbasci., common name Mullein. And the plant it was on Verbascum and the word Mullein on the label !!!!
So the moral is use all the clues in front of you and you might find things out for yourself.
Anyway, we either bought the plant with the eggs on it from the nursery - quite possible, or the moth came in overnight and laid - also possible.
Now the caterpillars went from very small to quite large, about 40mm and after a while disappeared. So either the Blackbirds got them, or hopefully they have cocooned themselves in the ground. If the latter, then we wont see the resulting moth for up to five years.
So this is the first caterpillar that I have bought you from the garden, although it wasn't in the wildlife garden. So we still have to break that particular 'duck'
I had a great haul from the moth trap last night, as I continue to record the creatures of the night that we get here and will bring you some different species, with a couple of crackers in future posts.
So that's enough words, here's the little beastie on the larval foodplant.
Have a great weekend