Monday, May 28, 2018
Late May highlights 2018
Our granddaughter brought home a spray from a tree with which I was unfamiliar. It was trained against a wall of a house in Ellenwhorne Lane a kilometre of so north of here. It turned out to be kiwifruit, Actinidia deliciosa. We found a caterpillar of Svensson's copper underwing, Amphipyra berbera, on it.
The caterpillar is very similar to the common copper underwing, Amphipyra pyramidea, but can be distinguished by the continuous lateral white line behind the head (it fades out for a couple of segments in A. pyramidea), the black speckled forelegs and the red-tipped spine at the end of the body. It feeds on various trees and shrubs and seems quite happy munching away at the kiwifruit leaves. The species is widespread here in East Sussex, but less common than A. pyramidea.
Another interesting moth was the appearance of a rather battered pale tussock, Calliteara pudibunda, on our lighted kitchen window. This is a male with pectinated orange antennae. Sixty years ago when we worked in the Rother Valley hop gardens we often came across the beautiful golden haired caterpillars that were known as 'hop dogs'.
Halfway down the garden a very attractive combination of plants has occurred of its own free will: a mixture of wild yellow archangel (Lamium galeobdolon) and a garden cranesbill, Geranium macrorrhizum I think. I am sure it would be difficult to create deliberately.
I was also struck by a white-flowered plant of herb-robert (Geranium robertianum) that has splayed itself out on the back wall of the house unchallenged by any other vegetation.