Pink Flowers and a Tiger Moth

Eupatorium cannabinum

(Hemp-agrimony)

These pretty, rather tall pink flowers, on thick tough stems, can be found mostly near the water’s edge, but also on the edge of woodland near us.  When they open the tiny flowers are quite fluffy, attracting lots of pollinators.

And they are, along with nettles, the favourite food of the caterpillars of the Jersey Tiger Moth (Euplagia quadripunctaria), which I spotted in my garden a couple of days ago.

At a first glance, a rather attractive, but not brightly coloured moth…

But as it stretches a little, the lower wings become visible…

In flight, a brilliant flash of orange, so fast – almost impossible to capture!

(That’s a bee in the background!)

The gorgeous fiery orange underneath is a stark contrast to the black and creamy white striped upper wings, and it becomes clear how this moth got its name…


The Jersey Tiger Moth is occasionally seen in southern England, but more frequently in the Channel Isles (as the name suggests, on Jersey) and in warmer climes like Greece or the Mediterranean. It flies both during the daytime and at night.

A few links for more information:

BBC website

Wikipedia – Jersey Tiger Moth

Wikipedia – Hemp-agrimony

philbudd.wordpress.com

29 thoughts on “Pink Flowers and a Tiger Moth

  1. Beautiful moth!
    The plant grows here as well, in marshy, damp places. The common name is Joe-Pye Weed…I’ve often wondered who old Joe might have been, and if he resents having a “weed” bear his name 😉

    • You won’t believe this, but I just looked at Wikiedia and it tells you where the name “Joe-Pye-Weed” comes from… he was “an Indian healer from New England, used E. purpureum to treat a variety of ailments, which led to the name Joe-Pye weed for these plants”. Now we are both the wiser! LOL! Thanks for the comment! 😀

  2. Another beautiful specimen from Jersey, just like everything from my birthplace… 😉 (Of course I knew nothing of this rather surprising example – thanks, once again, for expanding my knowledge!)

    • What a nice place to be born! I’ve never been to Jersey, but it looks and sounds so idyllic, and conjures up images of Jersey cows and clotted cream fudge! (And Bergerac!) 😀

  3. I don’t recognize the flower, or either of the moths. They are all lovely, especially that moth with the red underskirt. Stunning photography, as usual!

  4. I came to comment to say what an amazing shot of the tiger moth’s red inner “tail” color. Great shot. Then I read the other comments and I have also written recently about Joe-pye weed. Now i know he was an indian healer- thanks- I bet he did not mind at all that most people thought it was a weed.

  5. Once again wonderful nature photos, Cathy! The “Jersey Tiger Moth” is called “Russischer Bär” or
    also “Spanische Flagge” in German. Up to now I could watch it only seldom in our garden, twice or
    three times this year – I was very fascinated to see this special butterfly for the first time. It also
    likes the “Sommerflieder”…

    • Thank you Elisabeth – I think the pattern looks more like a tiger than a bear… and the Spanish flag is red and yellow isn’t it? It is often strange, the names that were given to different species hundreds of years ago! Maybe there was a Russian uniform that used these colours… who knows!

      • I read that the “Tiger Moth” belongs to the butterfly family “Bärenspinner”. Maybe therefore the name ” Bär “, although the pattern really looks more like a tiger. I don´t know, why “Russian” or
        “Spanish flag”.

    • Thank you so much! I’ve seen so many different ones this year… the moths and butterflies love the scabious, lavender and red valerian in my garden.

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