One of my favourite plants, the Teasel (Dipsacus fullonum) looks fabulous whether wreathed with its tiny lilac flowers, which insects of all kinds find delicious, or bare and dry and oh-so-sculptural during the winter months.
The pretty lilac of teasel flower is beginning to fade now but the mini beasts have certainly been enjoying its nectar. In my local parks and reserves it’s a favourite with the 6-spot Burnet moths and with bees of all species. And not long after those pretty little flowers fade away, the seeds will begin to form and grow, and provide food for the birds, particular the dapper little goldfinch, during the winter months. I’ll try to catch photos of them on the teasels in a couple of months’ time.
This is the sight that greeted me as I wandered home through Dingle Park the other day.
A Sloe shieldbug (Dolycoris baccarum) had its head buried deeply into the gaps between the spines of a teasel flower head. The tiny purple flowers had finished so it wasn’t nectaring, and I would’ve thought the flower head too tough for it to be sucking plant sap, so what on earth was it doing?
This little Green shieldbug nymph (Palomena prasina), watching from a nearby grass stem (you can see it in the background of the first image), looked as confused and bemused as I was.
After a few minutes, the Parent bug backed out of its spiny possie but it didn’t move from the teasel.
This was a good opportunity to get a photo of the underside of the bug … but I never did discover what it had been doing.