matridout's picture

Caterpillar that came in the Broccoli

Observed: 2nd May 2012 By: matridout
Caterpillar that came in the Broccoli
Caterpillar that came in the Broccoli

Found this 7cm long caterpillar in a sealed head of Spanish broccoli. After feeding on broccoli for a week it burrowed into the soil, presumably to pupate. Currently it is in a jar full of soil. Is it a pest? should it be let loose in the UK? Any ideas I have searched and searched other caterpillar pictures to no avail.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Sword-grass (Xylena exsoleta) interacts


Douglas's picture

No, don't release it, it'll

No, don't release it, it'll be non-native.

Please could you please post images of the adult when it hatches if we don't get an ID before?

Best wishes,


Michael Skelton's picture

Sword Grass

See: for photos of adults and larvae.

Douglas's picture

Good shout Michael. Not sure

Good shout Michael.

Not sure what on earth it's doing on Broccoli, or how it survived whatever they do to them.

Technically it should probably still not be released as it's from a separate gene pool, this can cause problems with local populations.

However, that far South there is high unlikely to be a local population, so it doesn't really matter.

Best wishes,


matridout's picture

Thank you

Dear All,
Thats it. Michaels Sword-grass - Xylena exsoleta. The internet images of this caterpillar are the same one.
We don't know how it survived either, but it was on organic broccoli, inside the plastic - it did however like eating broccoli. I will try and take some pics if it hatches.
My mother will be delighted - she is looking after it and has even written to Tesco (who of course have no interest whatsoever).
Thank you again for your time and i will add a picture if we see the moth.

M Ridout