Friday, 26 July 2013

The Solomon’s Seal Saw Fly

Solomon's Seal
If you have a Solomon’s Seal plant in your garden it might be interesting to take a look at its  leaves during the summer months after the plant has finished flowering. The leaves might be intact, but on the other hand they might be gradually disappearing. If this is the case, take a closer look at the plant and you will find that it is covered in small grey caterpillars, which are systematically stripping the leaves. In fact you can see the leaf visibly being “munched” as you watch!

Solomon's Seal Saw Fly
The sawfly is an unremarkable looking black fly. When the plant is flowering , the female lays rows of eggs in the stem of the leaf.  The ovipositor looks and acts like a saw...thus the name. You can see purplish brown marks on the leaf stems where they have been sawn!
The caterpillars/larvae emerge and as they grow in size so does their appetite, as they systematically  devour the foliage of the plant.
When winter comes they burrow underground to pupate and  emerge in the spring as sawflies, and thus the cycle begins once more.

If your Solomon’s Seal plant is affected  it will gradually lose its strength, and become less abundant the following year.

Someone in the area has said that the sawfly larvae also enjoy eating through gooseberry leaves. 

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