Red Buckeye & the Asian Lady Beetle

Known locally as scarlet buckeye, woolly buckeye, or firecracker plant, the red buckeye (Aesculus pavia) plant is native to the southern and eastern U.S. and can reach a height of up to 26 feet. This perennial shrub absolutely covers the state of Alabama. Hanging out on one of the buckeye blooms is a multicolored Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis), an insect introduced from Asia into the United both accidentally many times and purposefully by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for classical biological control of arthropod pests. A crucial predator of aphids and scale insects, which may damage some plants, this tree-dwelling beetle is just one more contributor to the biodiversity of Ruffner Mountain. These two species, the native plant and the non-native insect, have evolved to harmoniously interact and flourish, both complementing and protecting one another.