Buttonbush and Eight-spotted Foresters

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Our Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis) has been covered with its unique white blooms, and has been the scene of considerable bee and butterfly activity.


I’ve especially enjoyed seeing  Eight-spotted Forester moths (Alypia octomaculata) as regular visitors. This is the first time I’ve seen them in our yard, and it was a special treat to see as many as three at once. I’m intrigued by the orange ‘tufts’ on their legs.

Eight-spotted forester side view

It’s easy to mistake these moths for small black-and-white butterflies. However, unlike most moths, these fly during the day. In this view it’s easy to see their eight spots.

Eight-spotted forester moth

As the blossoms age, the insects will begin to look elsewhere for nectar, and the brown ‘balls’ which contain seeds will remain until autumn. I’m curious to see if the Eight-spotted Foresters show up on other flowers.

6 thoughts on “Buttonbush and Eight-spotted Foresters”

  1. Oh Betty, i really like this Buttonbush, and the pretty day moth, Eight Spotted Forester. I am so pleased that you are visited by all these beautiful creatures. I wish i could say the same for us, as there seems to be a sharp decline in butterfly activity in Jersey this summer. Lots of bees so that is good, but i would like to see more butterflies and moths about. Looking forward to the next blog!

    1. Thanks, Pauline. Sorry to hear of your lack of butterfly activity. I’ll hope you can still see some before summer ends.

  2. I am so thrilled that you posted this. I too have been seeing these Eight-spotted Foresters. This is the first time I’ve seen and have been wondering what they are. Also, I would love to “foster” one of your moth caterpillars.

    1. Marsha, interesting that you, too, are seeing the Eight-spotted Foresters. I’m delighted you want to ‘adopt’ a moth.They are ready for the taking anytime.

  3. Hey Betty, the butterfly is really nice but could you tell me more about this Bottonbush? I have never seen one before.

    1. Louise, the buttonbush is one of our native shrubs. It often grows in moist areas, but has survived in our backyard. It is often a relatively thick bush, however I’ve pruned mine to be more open. Hope this helps.

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