Attracting Elephant Hawk Moths by planting Menyanthes Trifoliata (Bog Bean)

Attracting Elephant Hawk Moths By Planting Menyanthes Trifoliata (Bog Bean)

The great thing about water gardening is the amount of wildlife that water can attract to your garden.  Menyanthes Trifoliata, commonly known as Bog Bean, can be grown in any sized pond.  This marginal plant also known as Marsh Trefoil and Buckbean, produces leaves that are the food source for the larvae (Caterpillars, of the attractive, pink coloured, Elephant Hawk Moth.

Bog Bean produces long narrow rootstock/rhizomes that grows happily in bogs or submerged up to a water depth of 60cm.  In deeper water, the rootstock grows to the surface where it continues branching out and floating/rafting across the water surface, forming dense floating islands of foliage that have attractive,three lobed green leaves.  These leaves have been harvested throughout time and used for many medicinal purposes.

Menyanthes grows wild throughout the northern hemisphere and can commonly be found in lakes, ponds, bog-lands and open wetland.  In late spring, it puts on a stunning show of fringed, pale pink, star shaped flowers that emerge from attractive, dark pink buds.

Elephant Hawk Moths are one of our most colourful insects in the UK, and the caterpillars of this species are also simply stunning and grow to a length of 7.6cm (3 inches).  The larvae look like elephant trunks (hence the name), and like many other moth larvae, have dark eye spots near the head.  This mimicry is a wonder of evolution and designed to make the caterpillar look like a small snake or other predator.

Menyanthes Trifoliata (Bog Bean) is available to buy from March onwards from our website or visiting us at Lilies Water Gardens retail nursery.

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