Scientific name: Pieris rapae
A small strong-flying butterfly, common and widespread throughout Britain and Ireland.
It has brilliant white wings, with small black tips to the forewings and one or two wing spots. The undersides are a creamy white.
The Large White is similar but larger, and has a larger spot in the tip of the forewing that extends down the wing's edge.
Size and Family
- Family: Whites and yellows
- Size: Medium
- Wing Span Range (male to female): 48mm
- Butterfly Conservation priority: Low
- European status: Not threatened
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.
This common butterfly is found in a variety of habitats, particularly gardens and allotments where cabbages are grown.
- Countries: England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland
- Widespread throughout Britain and Ireland
- Distribution trend in Britain since the 1970s = -7%
- Farmland Butterflies ID chart
- Gardening for Butterflies and Moths
- Butterflies in towns and cities
- Woodlands for Butterflies and Moths