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Thursday 22 March 2018

Butterflies beating around the bush

Michael McHale

COMPARED to its friends it is old and a bit ragged, but it still gets all the attention.

At around six foot tall and six foot wide, this Buddleia plant (pictured above with three tortoiseshell butterflies by Gary O'Neill) is twice the size of its fellow bushes on South Beach in Arklow, Co Wicklow.

But while the little guys seem far more appealing to the human eye, it's the bigger bush that most of the local butterflies can't get enough of.

The Buddleia is most commonly referred to as the 'butterfly bush', known for the way the plant attracts swarms of different species of the insect.

Most bushes on the Arklow beach get attention from just a few butterflies at a time. But this particularly large and dilapidated bush is known to attract anything up to 100 at once, and is gaining a reputation locally for its insect-charming skills.

Buddleia bushes are usually covered in soft lilac-purple or pink fragrant flowers and are best grown in fertile, well-drained soil.

Butterflies such as the Peacock butterfly (left) are most attracted to them during late summer and early autumn, and when the weather is warm with little wind.

Irish Independent

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