Gardeners dig in to halt decline of rare night-flying moth

Dark mullein among marjoram at Holtspur
Dark mullein among marjoram at Holtspur

Hundreds of flowers have been planted across Bucks and Oxon to stop the decline of a nationally scarce moth, wildlife charity Butterfly Conservation (BC) has revealed.

BC’s Upper Thames Branch were concerned about falling numbers of Striped Lychnis, an elusive, night-flying moth that was once abundant in this part of the country.

The gradual disappearance of its foodplant,dark mullein, is thought to have been a key factor in the decline.

So earlier this year, people were asked to grow the flower in their gardens.

The branch was inundated with support and more than a million seeds were handed out to people across the two counties by BC member Tony Gillie.

Tony said: “Some people who took seeds and grew them over the summer have now handed them back for us to plant on our Holtspur Bottom Reserve, which sits between High Wycombe and Beaconsfield. Because of this, we hope to have planted around a thousand extra plants on the reserve by the end of the year, which is just fantastic.”

Weston Turville-based mental health charity Lindengate, which grows plants as a form of therapy for its patients, has produced at least 100 plants for the project.

And Holtspur School, in Beaconsfield, has also planted more than 100 flowers in its school grounds.