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

Conservation Status

  • 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.


    Small White lifecycle diagram


    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 = -8%

    Small White distribution map

    Small White (upperwing) - Ryszard Szczygieł

    Small White (upperwing)

    Small White (upperside) - Dean Morley

    Small White (upperside)

    Small White (upperside) - Andrew Dejardin

    Small White (upperside)

    Small White (upperwing) - Peter Eeles

    Small White (upperwing)

    Small White (underwing) - Vlad Proklov

    Small White (underwing)

    Small White (underwing) - Adam Gor

    Small White (underwing)

    Small White (underwing) - Ivan Lynas

    Small White (underwing)

    Small White (male & female) - Tamás Nestor

    Small White (male & female)

    Small White (egg) - Gilles San Martin

    Small White (egg)

    Small White (caterpillar) by Peter Eeles

    Small White (caterpillar)

    Small White (caterpillar) - Ryszard Szczygieł

    Small White (caterpillar)

    Small White (pupa) - Patrick Clement

    Small White (pupa)