Toadflax Brocade

Calophasia lunula - Toadflax Brocade - Hodges#10177

Goodness, is it really that late already? Just a quickie this evening, then. Still working on computer issues…

I discovered this guy on the weekend while browsing my garden. The lilac is one that I dug from the house I grew up in, before my parents moved out a couple of years ago. It didn’t put out any blossoms that spring, probably just trying to recover from suddenly finding itself independent, its sucker root back to the main plant now severed. It settled in well to its new location, and last year it put out half a dozen blooms. This year it’s feeling even better, with double that number. I almost feel bad that in a year or two it’s going to be dug up and moved again, just when it’s really getting comfortable; but Dan and I hope to buy our own place in the next few years, and my garden plants, including this childhood lilac, will be coming with me.

So I was peering closely at the blossoms, both to admire them and to inhale that beautiful lilac scent, when I noticed this moth hidden among the flowers. This is a Toadflax Brocade, Calophasia lunula. I haven’t seen one yet this year, so it was a pleasant surprise. They’re easily recognizable by their small size and tented shape, and the small white crescent set in the buffy wing. They’re not a native species to here. They were first introduced in 1962 in Belleville, Ontario, which is not that far from here. Several subsequent releases through the 60s and onward have established their populations across much of the continent. They were brought over with the intention of acting as a biocontrol for Yellow Toadflax aka Butter-and-eggs, that ubiquitous roadside wildflower which is also non-native. Studies have shown that the caterpillars will defoliate about 20% of plants, but that’s not really enough to do much for population control. Ah well. They tried.

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4 responses to “Toadflax Brocade

  1. Glad the lilac is doing well.

  2. Also glad the Traveling Lilac is doing well. At least the Toadflax Brocade doesn’t seem to be causing any unintended negative consequences.

  3. Interesting story of trying to control Butter and Eggs. — barbara

  4. Dennis (chibi) Holmes

    As to computer virus, I had malware, too, last year and it was a pain to remove. But, if you have a Windows XP Professional or other Windows OS, I recommend Microsoft Security Essentials, their tech help and online links did the trick. It’s free, very simple (probably a little to terse for those that are used to daily reports and such), but, it seems to catch (knock on wood) all the malware so far thrown at my system. I really enjoy your blog and I hope you get and keep it hack-free. Ciao…

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