Small White

  • Small White (underwing)
    Small White (underwing)
  • Small White (upperwing)
    Small White (upperwing)
  • Small White (male & female)
    Small White (male & female)
  • Small White (egg)
    Small White (egg)
  • Small White (caterpillar)
    Small White (caterpillar)
  • Small White (pupa)
    Small White (pupa)
  • Video play iconSmall White (upperwing)
    Small White (video)
  • Small White (underwing)
    Small White (underwing)
  • Small White (upperwing)
    Small White (upperwing)
  • Small White (male & female)
    Small White (male & female)
  • Small White (egg)
    Small White (egg)
  • Small White (caterpillar)
    Small White (caterpillar)
  • Small White (pupa)
    Small White (pupa)
  • Small White (upperwing)
    Small White (video)

Scientific name: Pieris rapae

A small strong-flying butterfly, common and widespread throughout Britain and Ireland.

Brilliant white wings with small black tips to forewings and one or two wing spots. Undersides creamy white. Large White is similar but larger and has larger spot in tip of forewing that extends down wing edge.

Size and Family

  • Family – Whites and yellows
  • Medium Sized 
  • Wing Span Range (male to female) - 48mm

Conservation status

  • UK BAP status: Not listed
  • Butterfly Conservation priority: Low
  • European status: Not threatened

Caterpillar Foodplants

Cultivated brassicas are used, especially cabbages, and Nasturtium (Tropaeoleum majus) in gardens. Wild crucifers, including Wild Cabbage (Brassica oleracea), Charlock (Sinapis arvensis). Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale), Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata), Hoary Cress (Lepidium draba) and Wild Mignonette (Reseda lutea) are used to a lesser extent.

Distribution

  • Countries – England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
  • Widespread throughout Britain and Ireland
  • Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = Britain: -7%

Habitat

A common butterfly found in a variety of habitats particularly gardens and allotments where cabbages are grown.

Factsheets

Similar species