Back in 1999 we started a project to increase the number of Marshmallow (Althaea officinalis) plants to secure their future and to attract the endangered Marsh Mallow Moth (Hydraecia osseola) to breed. It has been a long time, involving many volunteers, but last September the first adult moth was located within the 2200+ flowering spikes at Castle Water. So a big thank-you to all who have helped.
Over several years we collected seed from the few plants growing at Castle Water and Castle Farm and distributed them to volunteers and to Plumpton College to grow in pots. Then the plants were planted out on workparties, mostly at Castle Water but also at other sites around the Nature Reserve. We also scattered seed in suitable wetland areas. The plants did well very quickly, but it’s taken much longer for the moths to find them suitable.
The Moth has a very restricted distribution in UK with several sites on Romney Marshes and one in North Kent. This has been the subject of a Butterfly Conservation project funded by Natural England. Find out more about the moth by clicking here or the plant by clicking here