The larvae of both species are also superficially similar, the Mullein having black spotting between each segment, whereas Striped Lychnis larvae generally have a clear band of pale green between each segment. Striped Lychnis feeds from July to mid September, whereas that of the Mullein feeds from late May to July.


  • Medium Sized 
  • Wing Span Range (male to female) - 42-47mm

Conservation status

  • UK BAP: Priority Species
  • Nationally Scarce

Caterpillar Description

The larva usually feeds on the flowers and can readily be found by day; July to mid-September. Overwinters as a pupa, on or just below the ground surface.

Particular Caterpillar Food Plants

Dark Mullein (Verbascum nigrum), but has been reported on White Mullein (V. lychnitis) and ornamental mulleins in gardens


  • Countries – England
  • Local in southern England, being found in West Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire. Also once recently in Wiltshire. Formerly found in some other parts of southern England.
  • Distribution Trend Since 1970s = Britain: Declining


Roadside verges, embankments, field margins, rough downland, and also woodland rides and clearings. Usually in un-shaded situations.

Striped Lychnis

Striped Lychnis

Striped Lychnis caterpillar

Striped Lychnis caterpillar