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Butterflies

What might I see in my wildflower meadow?
Even in a small meadow, the presence of 30-60 native flowers will be a magnet, and they will flower MUCH longer than a formal flower border. Some varieties will also encourage breeding 'residency' in your meadow.

There are 74 species of butterfly resident or visiting our shores, listed on www.ukbutterflies.co.uk !
To make it easier, we've listed the 20 most likely to turn up in a grassland/woodland edge habitat

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Meadow Brown

MEDIUM-SMALL

Very likely resident UK-wide

Caterpillars feed on grasses

Only butterfly with orange just around 'eyes'

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Common Blue

TINY

Very likely visitor UK-wide, will become resident if Bird's Foot Trefoil is present (Caterpillar food plant).

Only common pure blue butterfly with no black edges

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Small White

MEDIUM

Very likely visitor UK-wide

Won't damage your wildflowers

Only white butterfly with 2 spots. If wings are heavily 'veined' it's a Green-Veined White - also common)

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Peacock

LARGE

Very likely visitor UK-wide

Will breed if you keep a nettle patch (which most of us do, without meaning to!)

Largest 'eyes' of any butterfly

Butterflies: Services

Butterflies

What might I see in my wildflower meadow?

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Large White

MEDIUM-LARGE

Very likely visitor UK-wide

Won't damage your wildflowers

Only large white butterfly (has 4 spots)

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Red Admiral

LARGE

Very likely visitor UK-wide, will become resident if you keep a nettle patch

Only butterfly with red 'flashes'

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Small Tortoiseshell

MEDIUM-LARGE

Likely visitor UK-wide

Will breed if you keep a nettle patch

6 pale spots across forewings

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Small Copper

TINY

Likely visitor UK-wide, will become resident if you grow Common Sorrel (it's Caterpillar foodplant)

Only orange butterfly with dark 'backpack'

Butterflies: Services

Butterflies

These are still quite common...

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Gatekeeper

SMALL

Likely visitor everywhere but Scotland

Your 'very orange' Meadow Brown, is most likely a Gatekeeper!

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Small Skipper

TINY

Possible resident (not a fan of Scotland)

A tiny triangle!

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Brimstone

MEDIUM-LARGE

Likely visitor unless you are Scottish (sorry about this, you do have some gems that only live in Scotland!)

Only Sulphur-yellow butterfly. Often the earliest

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Orange tip

MEDIUM-SMALL

Likely visitor UK-wide

Only butterfly with orange wing-tips

Butterflies: Services

Butterflies

Now you are getting luckier...

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Comma

MEDIUM-LARGE

Possible visitor everywhere in UK (not northern Scotland)

Only butterfly with 'deliberately' ragged-wings

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Painted Lady

LARGE

Possible visitor (not a fan of Scotland)

Has 'fighter jet' wings, tipped with black

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Holly Blue

TINY

Possible visitor everywhere but....Scotland.

Black wing tips

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Clouded Yellow

MEDIUM

Possible visitor UK-wide, including Scotland! If you plant Bird's Foot Trefoil, it will breed.

Yellow-orange, with perfect brown edging

Butterflies: Services

Butterflies

Less common...

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Large Skipper

MEDIUM

Likely visitor everywhere but Scotland

Unmistakable shape for its size

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Ringlet

TINY

Possible resident (loves Scotland)

Easy to mistake for a tiny chocolate Moth

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Scotch Argus

TINY

Not only do I live in Scotland.

I ONLY live in Scotland!

Unique and stunning detail to the orange spots

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Green Hairstreak

TINY

Possible visitor UK-wide

Only green butterfly (underwings only) - described as 'jewel-like' in the sun

We have tried to give unique identification features, as there are another 20 or more species that MIGHT come to see you!

Butterflies: Services
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