Nettles are important

Stinging nettles are the food plant of many of our loveliest butterflies: Red Admiral, Tortoishell, Painted Lady and the most beautiful of all, the Peacock. So don’t weed out all your nettles, keep some for the butterflies and this is what you may see:
peacock caterpillars2
These are nearly full grown Peacocks and have spun a web to safely change their skins for the last time before pupating.
peacock caterpillars4
These two are sitting on a nettle leaf and are fully grown
peacock caterpillars5
They may not be the prettiest caterpillars but look at their lovely orange legs with yellow nail varnish. Soon they will crawl down the nettle stem and find a place nearby to pupate before hatching in a couple of weeks into the glorious creature that is the Peacock butterfly.
butterflies on nettle
The Peacock is the one at the top with eyes and this is an illustration from An Illustrated Country Year

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