13 May 2009

Garlic mustard moths

Garlic mustard or jack-by-the-hedge (Alliaria petiolata) grows by several of the rides in Brede High Woods, often near the entrances from the roads and lanes.  Although unrelated to garlic and onions it does have the distinctive smell and taste associated with these vegetables.

I always have a look at the flowers to see if I can see eggs of the orange-tip butterfly or find the little longhorn moth Adela rufimitrella (a scientific name that translates as the 'red-turbaned unseen', referring to the area behind the head of the adult and the fact that the caterpillar makes itself almost invisible by first burrowing in a seed pod then feeding from a case covered in bits of leaf and soil low down on the stems of the food plant )

20090510 BHW Adela rufimitrella 075b

For those unfamiliar with garlic mustard there is a picture below.  The moth also feeds, like the orange-tip butterfly, on cuckoo flower or lady's smock (Cardamine pratensis)

Jack by the Hedge 20030508

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