Sunday, 2 November 2014

Magic Carpet

Debates about carpets are probably most associated with young couples furnishing their first home. In my case,  it's the issue of whether the delicate little visitor above and below is a Spruce or Juniper Carpet moth.

I'd assumed Spruce, as the commoner of the two, but the pattern seems to me to be more Junipery. I've asked my expert colleagues on the Upper Thames Moths blog but if anyone here can beat them to a definitive answer, I will reward them with a crayfish (when I catch one). Update: the award goes to Peter in Comments who opts for Juniper, subsequently confirmed by Martin Townsend of the Moth Bible.

The question got me thinking sideways about trees and the perhaps surprising fact that the Juniper is one of the UK's relatively few native species - 29 in all. As for the Spruce, I had thought that it was named after the famed plant collector and native of Yorkshire (born at Ganthorpe, near Castle Howard), Richard Spruce. But no. The word is a version of 'Prussian' because when they first arrived in Britain in the 17th century, they were thought to come from north Germany. "Whatever's that?" "S'Prusssian."


Pete Smith said...

I'm no expert but I have had these in my garden and would agree with Juniper.

Martin Wainwright said...

Pete - many thanks. I am sure you are right and the crayfish(es) will be yours. As and when... I'm still awaiting absolute confirmation but everyone I've asked has said Juniper. All warm wishes and thanks, M