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Lilac Leaf Mining Moth

Gracillaria syringella

Lilac Leaf Mining Moth, Lilac Leaf Miner, Lilac Leaf-Miner

A close up of a Gracillaria syringella Lilac leaf mining moth on a leaf

15.014 BF293 Gracillaria syringella (17733694945)

by Patrick Clement. CC BY 2.0

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The Lilac Leaf Miner is a delicate brown and white insect. They're leaf-mining moths, which means the tiny caterpillar larvae will tunnel through the leaves of host plants, Lilac. These tunnels, or mines, ultimately turn into dried out blotches.
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Larvae can damage foliage from their mining behaviour.


Adults: Lilac leaf-mining moths have brindled wing scales which comprise a mixture of orange-brown, white and black colouring. The wingspan ranges between 10-13mm. They are slender, long and skinny. These moths are nocturnal, and torchlight or moth traps can sometimes detect their presence. The flight season spans March-November. Larvae: Caterpillars are green-white, 7mm long, and feed within the internal tissues of leaves. They tend to hide in the rolls of dried leaves. Pupae: Larvae pupate on the underside of leaves. Mines: Each leaf can possess several mines. Mines look like large brown blotches. Leaves eventually dry out as a result of mining behaviour.


Leaf damage is usually light. Brown blotches on the leaves. Dried leaves. Premature leaf fall. Most plants can tolerate damage.











Europe, North America and Canada

Biological treatment

Although mining insects harm the leaves of plants, the overall health is always retained.

Chemical treatment

There are currently no chemical treatments available for gardeners in the UK because infestations tend to be light. Good housekeeping, such as pruning hedges and removing leaves which are infested, will aid controlling numbers the following year, limiting the damage caused.



Syringa spp.

A green Ligustrum plant with white flowers in a garden


Ligustrum spp.


Fraxinus spp.

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