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OSIER A wonderful foodplant. Ten cuttings
Availability: Autumn 2018

Osier Willow cuttings Salix viminalis


Next available from November.


Years ago we planted a stick that was floating down a river in Wiltshire.  That was in 1954! It grew – rapidly – producing a wealth of leaves.  We tried it as a foodplant and discovered that not only did British species do well on it, but exotic silkmoth larvae as well.


This stick was the daddy of hosts of willow thickets that we have established in Dorset, Cornwall and in France.


Osier is Basket Willow, the flexible essential for basket weaving. It makes a wonderful woven hedge. It can form living sculptures. Winter or summer, Osier makes wonderful screens and windbreaks. Cover for wildlife and game. Osier is grown as a crop for energy production. In short it is a blessing to the environment, and very pleasant on the eye in landscaping schemes.


We are offering a bunch of 10 cuttings for you to try not only as probably the most universal foodplant for larvae, but a great addition to your garden and grounds. 


Probably the easiest cuttings to strike and grow. You simply push them into the ground, during autumn or spring. Leaves will appear within the first fortnight if planted in spring, roots quickly follow. In the first year they will more than double in size. Next year, in normal drought free conditions,  you will have a metre or more of growth and lots of foodplant. You may even be able to feed some in the first year.

You can store cuttings before planting, either in a polythene bag in the fridge, or standing in water. In water they often start to root. It is advisable to plant them before the roots actually burst out of the bark.


This plant is a complete success story – you will be pleased you tried it!



DUO Small Tortoiseshell urticae and Comma Butterfly c-album. Ten larvae of each.
Availability: NOW

DUO Small Tortoiseshell and Comma Butterfly. Ten larvae of each. 

Both species feed on Stinging Nettle. Help encourage these butterflies which are suffering terribly at the moment.

Comma larvae live solitarily and best kept separate from Tortoiseshell which are gregarious. Young Comma larvae will succeed best if placed on growing foodplant. Enclose plant and pot in a netting sleeve, tied at both ends: size 3 is ideal. Cut food is not recommended at least until the larvae are nearly half grown. Comma also do well on Elm, Hop, Osier Willow, and probably other Willows.

Large White Pieris brassicae 10 larvae
Availability: Summer 2017

Large White Butterfly Pieris brassicae


No longer the common butterfly it once was. Winter pupae are stored cool for the winter and normally hatch in May.


This is a good species for the inexperienced, and as an introduction to rearing larvae.


The larvae feed on cabbage but also most Cruciferae which can be better and less smelly for captive rearing! Horseradish is ideal for its large leaves and other species include Rape, Mustard, Sweet Rocket, Turnip and Watercress.


There are two or more generations in a year.  


European Swallowtail P.machaon gorganus 15 eggs/10 larvae
Availability: July

European Swallowtail Papilio machaon gorganus 15 eggs/10 larvae according to availability



Booked orders have been supplied. We can now take orders for dispatch in July.


Easy to rear on Fennel and other Umbelliferae, such as carrot tops, Parsnip and Wild Parsnip flowers and fresh leaves. Very attractive caterpillar, bright green, striped black and orange. Double brooded.


This species is not suitable for beginners and schools.






American Black Swallowtail polyxenes asterias 10 Larvae
Availability: June

American Black Swallowtail Papilio polyxenes asterias 10 larvae


It is immediately evident from looking at this striking butterfly that it has a lot in common with the British and European Swallowtails and it is indeed so closely related that it will hybridise with either species. The larvae feed on Fennel and may take Carrot leaves and those of other Umbelliferae. The pupae overwinter but may produce a partial second brood of butterflies in late summer.



Tiger Swallowtail glaucus 15 eggs or 10 larvae
Availability: Summer 2017

Tiger Swallowtail Papilio glaucus North America 15 eggs or 10 larvae according to availability


The Tiger Swallowtail is perhaps

North America’s grandest swallowtail. As a curiosity, a small proportion of females emerge as melanics, not as beautiful as the typical female, but different! They can be bred in captivity and the larvae are as exotic as many of the tropical swallowtails, with the Papilio eye markings and bird dropping camouflage in the early instars. Try feeding them on Cherry or Lime, and they will probably take a wider variety of foodplants. These have been reported: Ash, Cherry,  Tulip Tree Liriodendron, Magnolia, Birch, Poplar, Prunus, Apple, Willow, Alder.


Papilio multicaudata North America 15 eggs or 10 larvae
Availability: NOW

Papilio multicaudata North America 15 eggs or 10 larvae according to availability

This grand Swallowtail has only recently been offered by WWB. Allied to glaucus the Tiger Swallowtail, this species likewise has curious larvae with eye-like markings, in their later instars, that make predators wary. Recorded foodplants are Ash, Cherry, Choke Cherry and Ligustrum lucidum, so possibly Privet.

In warmer states there is more than one brood. These eggs and larvae will become pupae that can be hatched this season if they are raised under warm and light conditions.


Irish Marsh Fritillary aurinia  egg batch
Availability: May/June

Irish Marsh Fritillary Eurydryas aurinia Egg Batch


A whole egg batch of Irish Marsh Fritillary, laid in a cluster of 150 or more eggs.

Feed larvae on Honeysuckle (wild is best), Snowberry or the natural foodplant Devil’s Bit Scabious.

The larvae live in a tightly formed web, growing a little before they hibernate in autumn.

Pupae are formed in late April into May.


Green-veined White napi 10 larvae
Availability: July onwards

Green-veined White  Pieris napi


A delicate member of the White family, with variable markings and prominent underside veining.  The larvae feed on many Cruficerae with a particular liking for Jack by the Hedge Alliaria, Horseradish Armoracia rusticana, Cresses and Mustards.


Very easy to breed. Several generations are possible in a season. Hibernation is in the pupal stage. Keep the pupae cool or in the fridge until April. Lay them out to emerge in May and provide the adults with nectar flowers and stems of the foodplant on which to lay.


Harmless to garden plants (they prefer wild plants), this is a species you can breed to enhance the local countryside.


Black-veined White crataegi Egg Batch
Availability: June 2018

Black-veined White Aporia crataegi Egg Batch


Egg batches (at least 30 eggs) will be available in May/June. The larvae do well sleeved on Hawthorn (their preferred foodplant), Plum, Blackthorn, Plum or Apple. They live gregariously, spinning a very small and concealed web on the branch, in which they hibernate. Leave the sleeve untouched for the winter. In spring they awake as soon as the buds burst, and begin to grow very quickly. They pupate often collectively, making very brightly coloured, angular pupae which are greenish white, with contrasting markings in black and yellow.



Brimstone rhamni 10 larvae
Availability: June 2018

Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni


Both larvae and pupae are masters of camouflage. Quick growing, the larvae feed on Buckthorns Rhamnus catharticus or Frangula alnus. There are no substitutes, so prepare with some bushes in advance.


Clouded Yellow Crocea 10 Larvae
Availability: NOW

Clouded Yellow Butterfly Colias crocea Larvae


Larvae available immediately.


A great favourite with entomologists and easy to rear on potted Clover. The easy way is to enclose the whole pot in a sleeve size 3. The larvae grow fast and will produce butterflies very quickly, particularly in warm conditions.