Asian Ladybeetle, Harlequin

Harmonia axyridis When I hear a soft ding-dong or pling-plong in my flat during a warm summer night, it is usually an Asian ladybeetle flying against the ceiling. I rarely get a visit from European ladybirds. Harmonia axyridis, as the Asian Ladybeetle, Harlequin or Multicoloured Asian Ladybeetle is zoologically called, was introduced to Europe. For… Continue reading Asian Ladybeetle, Harlequin

Plants on stone walls

Greater Celandine (Chelidonium majus) growing on a stone wall.

Walls are, with increasing age and if they are allowed to acquire patina, a good habitat for many animals and plants. I would like to introduce some of them in this post. Black Nightshade (Solanum nigrum) The Black Nightshade can cope with many habitats, in my garden it grows in the compost heap. On walls… Continue reading Plants on stone walls

Goldmoss Stonecrop

Sedum acre As long as it is not in flower, the Goldmoss Stonecrop is one of those plants that are often overlooked. It only grows a few centimetres high. In urban areas, the plant, also known as Mossy Stonecrop, Goldmoss Sedum and Biting Stonecrop, can be found on roadsides, between tram tracks, paving stones, on… Continue reading Goldmoss Stonecrop

Black Horehound

Ballota nigra Black Horehound (Ballota nigra) looks similar to stinging nettles, though is not related to it but to the deadnettles (Lamium). It belongs to the Lamiaceae family. In locations with good water and nutrient supply, the perennial plant can grow up to one metre high. It flowers from late May/early June until October. In… Continue reading Black Horehound

Black Elder, Elderberry

Young Black Elder growing in a sandbox

Sambucus nigra The Black Elder adds colour to urban spaces. It sprouts early and can show its first leaves as soon as mid-March. And it keeps them for a long time; here in the region, green elder shrubs can be seen until December. Sambucus nigra grows as a tree or shrub and may reach a… Continue reading Black Elder, Elderberry

Bryony Ladybird

Mating Bryony Ladybirds

Henosepilachna argus Where the White Bryony (Bryonia dioica) grows, the Bryony Ladybird (Henosepilachna argus) can also be found. It lives on the poisonous climbers and feeds on their leaves. It is also reported to colonise other cucurbits. However, I have never seen it on courgette or cucumber plants in the garden. The Bryony Ladybird likes… Continue reading Bryony Ladybird

White Bryony, Red Bryony

Bryonia dioica The White Bryony (Bryonia dioica) can be found near parks and gardens. It needs climbing aids in the form of hedges, bushes or fences. Its shoots can grow up to 3 metres long. Although it belongs to the cucurbit family, neither its turnip-shaped root nor the berries are edible. The plant, also known… Continue reading White Bryony, Red Bryony

Firebug

Pyrrhocoris apterus The Firebug (Pyrrhocoris apterus) heralds the arrival of spring. It sounds trite, but it’s true. It appears with the first warming rays of sunshine and can be seen sunbathing as early as January. Pyrrhocoris apterus is probably one of the most common Central European bugs. It inhabits gardens, parks, cemeteries, embankments, dams and… Continue reading Firebug

Hoary Cress, Whitetop

Lepidium draba The Hoary Cress (Lepidium draba) is an adaptable and robust relative of the popular Garden Cress (Lepidium sativum). It originates from the Mediterranean region and is also called Whitetop or Thanet Cress. Here in the region, the perennial plant, which spreads by runners, is common. It flowers from April to June and also… Continue reading Hoary Cress, Whitetop

Green Rose Chafer

Cetonia aurata The Green Rose Chafer or simply Rose Chafer (Cetonia aurata) is a beetle from the family of scarab beetles (Scarabaeidae) that is often found in parks and gardens. Incidentally, the cockchafers also belong to this family. The beetles fly from April to November. They feed on nectar and plant juices and are often… Continue reading Green Rose Chafer