Large Emerald
Animals, Moths

Scientific name: Geometra papilionaria

Late June to late August. Common and well distributed throughout Britain. The largest of the British emeralds.

Easily identified by its large size and the scalloped edge to the wings. The green wing colour does not fade as in most other emeralds. White cross-lines are also scalloped with lines of white dots below.

The adults rest with wings spread and raised at an angle similar to a butterfly. They fly at night and are attracted to light but also occasionally fly high in the tree canopy on warm, sunny days.  The caterpillars can be found from July to the following June and are first brown becoming green with brown lumps after overwintering.

Size and Family

  • Family – Emeralds (Geometridae)
  • Medium / Large Sized
  • Wingspan Range – 50-60mm

Conservation Status

  • UK BAP: Not Listed
  • Common

Caterpillar Food Plants

Downy Birch (Betula pubescens), Silver Birch (Betula pendula), Hazel (Corylus avellana), Alder (Alnus glutinosa) and possibly also Beech (Fagus sylvatica)


Woodland, scrubby heathland and grassland, well established hedgerows, gardens and parks


  • Countries – England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland
  • Common. Well distributed throughout most of Britain and Ireland. Local on the Isle of Man and Jersey.