One of three similar species, this iridescent green moth can be difficult to distinguish from related species. However, it is generally smaller than either the Forester or Scarce Forester, and the presence of good quantities of the Cistus Forester’s foodplant, Common Rock-rose, can be a useful indication of this species.

The adults are active by day, the moth visiting flowers such as Common Rock-rose, Kidney Vetch, Wild Thyme and Common Bird’s-foot Trefoil. The caterpillars can be found from July to the following May, before pupating in a cocoon close to the ground.

Size and Family

  • Family – Burnets and Foresters (Zygaenids)
  • Small Sized 
  • Wingspan Range 18-24mm

Conservation Status

  • UK BAP: Not listed
  • Scarce (Nationally Scarce B)

Caterpillar Food Plants

The caterpillar feeds on Common Rock-rose (Helianthemum nummularium), at first blotch-mining the leaves.


Frequents dry grassland on chalk and limestone hills, favouring warm, flower-rich, south-facing slopes.


  • Countries – England, Wales
  • Nationally Scarce B. Can be common where found, this species is usually restricted to relatively small areas of suitable habitat. Confined to England and north Wales, it occurs from Dorset to Sussex (formerly also in Kent) north to the Derbyshire Dales, Yorkshire, Co. Durham and Cumbria.
Cistus Forester - Iain Leach

Cistus Forester

Cistus Forester - Iain Leach

Cistus Forester

Cistus Forester - Tim Melling

Cistus Forester

Cistus Forester - Garry Barlow

Cistus Forester

Cistus Forester (male & female) - oldbilluk

Cistus Forester (male & female)