Category Archives: Butterflies and moths

Buddleja Butterflies

By chance, the best two plants in the garden for pollinating insects in late summer are growing together in the garden. The Clematis vitalba (old man’s beard / tysk klematis) is in the foreground in the picture below and is popular with hoverflies, droneflies and bumblebees. Behind is my largest (of 3 Buddlejas, butterfly bush /sommerfuglbusk). We had one when we were growing up in the back garden, where my interest in insects and nature started. As the name suggests, it is most popular with butterflies (and moths), but bumble bees are also commonly seen on it. The Clematis reaches up to the balcony which allows me to study the insects at close hand. Clematis vitalba was planted in the garden as the cooked young shoots are commonly eaten in spring in Italy and is therefore one of the best edientomentals (edible/for the insects/ornamental) you can plant. Buddleja davidii is not edible and is in the entomental category.
Although the total number of butterflies is lower this year as last year we experienced a major invasion of painted lady (tistelsommerfugl) butterflies (only 2 observations in the last month in this part of Norway), there is a good diversity of species and you’ll find pictures and videos of the following species below:
Red admiral / admiral (up to 4)
Small tortoiseshell / neslesommerfugl (7)
Dark green fritillary / aglajaperlemorvinge (1)
Brimstone / sitronsommerfugl (colonising this area and my 3rd record this summer)
Comma / hvit C
Small white? / liten kålsommerfugl
Green-veined whites / rapssommerfugl have also been very common this year.
A possible small blue (dvergblåvinge) was also seen in the garden on Allium wallichii on 21st August.

Unusual Pollinators

A dark green fritillary (aglaya perlemorvinge) and my second red-tailed bumlebee (steinhumle) on my Buddleja and Clematis vitalba (old man’s beard….not me!)



Parsnip moth

If you grow parsnip (pastinakk) for seed, you may have come across the parsnip moth or parsnip webworm (Depressaria radiata) as it can make an impact on seed harvest as it makes a silk structure amongst the inflorescences. Here it’s on its other important host, hogweed (Heracleum spp.) which I’m also letting flower for the seeds (golpar spice).

Check your nettles!

Making nettle water (fertiliser) this afternoon and I checked if there were any butterfly / moth larvae under the leaves, but I missed one and this beauty floated to the surface along with some tiny bugs. It’s the larva of the Comma butterfly (Hvit C).
I moved the larva back onto a nettle plant…

Brimstone butterfly and moth

Brimstone butterflies (sitronsommerfugl) have become much more common on the other side of the fjord in recent years and I saw one in the garden for the first time in 2009. I thought this would be a regular occurrence but it took another 11 years before the next one turned up yesterday feeding on lesser celandine (vårkål) in my forest garden. 
This reminded me that I’ve also recorded the brimstone moth (sitronmåler) here, in my living room on 25th January 2014!
31st May 2020: A second one turned up, on Lunaria annua (honesty)


Brimstone moth:


31st May 2020: A second brimstone butterfly turned up, here on Lunaria annua (honesty):