Featured Flower – Purple Toadflax

Having so many wildlife friendly plants and shrubs in flower right now has inspired me to start regular blog posts entitled “Featured Flower”. The idea is to highlight a particular plant, shrub or tree which is currently supporting wildlife in my tiny garden .

So, the first one in the series of “featured flowers” in my wildlife garden is the amazingly prolific …..

Purple Toadflax

Notwithstanding that it has such a great name, the “purple toadflax” is also remarkable for its ability to provide pollinating insects with a source of nectar from late spring right through into the autumn. I didn’t actually buy this plant as such; it “hitch-hiked” a lift in the same pot of another plant which I had bought from my local garden centre.

Although it’s renowned for it’s prolific seeding(and so can be  somewhat invasive) I’m actually glad I didn’t weed it out and discard it but, instead, offered it a place in my garden where it’s now constantly visited by bees.  Currently in flower , it has a very long flowering season having been in flower from around May and likely to remain so in to September. It’s late flowering also makes it especially valuable as source of nectar at a time when most other garden plants have long stopped flowering.

In addition to providing nectar for bees and butterflies, the plant’s leaves also provide food for the caterpillars of a number of moths including the Toadflax Brocade – (calophasia lunula) and the Toadflax Pug (eupithecia linariata). Although the plant is a bit of an “interloper” it’s contribution in supporting so many insects has definitely earned it it’s right to stay and has become a very welcome addition to the wildlife garden.

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