21st May 2014

Back blogging, the native Spindle Tree in the garden is out with its unusual green, four-petalled, four-stamened flowers, which I’m sure I’ll revisit again in autumn when the stunning fruits are ripe. This native euonymous likes neutral or lime soil, and is fine in shade or sun. The timber is creamy, and extremely dense which led it to be used for many small, delicate items like spinning spindles, knitting needles, and tooth-picks. Nowadays, Spindle wood is used to make high-quality artist charcoal. The leaves and fruit are toxic to humans but the plant is good for wildlife- the tiny flowers, rich in nectar are visited by bees, insects and hover flies. Many moths feed on Spindle, including the Spindle Ermine, the Magpie and the wonderfully named Scorched Carpet Moth! Spindle is attractive to aphids which means Blue and Great Tits, Robins and Ladybirds love it. Talking of Ladybirds, I have scoured the garden for weeks and not found any native ones here, only many Harlequins. In the South and West I found some Seven Spot native Ladybirds, one of the most frequently seen, but not here so far this year. (You can tell natives from the Harlequin most easily by leg/ underside colour- Harlequins brown, natives black).

The small green flowers of the small Spindle tree.

The green flowers of the small Spindle tree.

A Harlequin Ladybird on a Euphorbia flower.

A Harlequin Ladybird on a Euphorbia flower.

Two seven-spot native Ladybirds photographed in the Cotswolds this year.

Two seven-spot native Ladybirds photographed in the Cotswolds this year.

Conditions: A lovely still, sunny day, with heavy showers due overnight. Temperature: Max 19 – Min 11 c.

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