Saturday, September 29, 2012

An abundance of red admirals

A mainly sunny day after the recent heavy rain and winds.

Halfway down our garden we have a bush of Colletia hystrix ( often listed as Colletia armata in catalogues) that produces masses of white, honey scented flowers at this time of year attractive to a wide range of insects, late butterflies being the most obvious.

20120929 (16)

Today here were literally dozens of visiting red admirals, Vanessa atalanta (above), maybe 30 or 40 of them, and I have never seen so many as this together.  There were also a few commas, Polygonia c-album, and a couple of southern hawker dragonflies trying to pick off some of the smaller insects attracted to the flowers.

20120929 (14)

Colletia hystrix, a member of the Buckthorn Family, comes from Chile where it is known as espino negro (i.e. blackthorn) or yaqui.  It is a very spiny plant and can be used, like gorse as a stock fence.  Ours is now about 4 or 5 metres tall and makes an impenetrable, but attractive, thicket.  It seems perfectly hardy in Sussex.

No comments: