Compare with: small white

Large white Pieris brassicae

Also known as: cabbage white


Best time to see: mid Apr to mid Sep

Key facts

Larger of the white butterflies that lay eggs on cabbage plants

Habitat: anywhere, but especially vegetable gardens, allotments and cabbage fields

One of Britain's commonest butterflies

Recognition

Gleaming white upperwings with black tips; underwings pale yellow dusted with grey

Highly mobile with a strong, fluttering flight

Usually seen in ones or twos; wingspan just under 5 cm

Lifecycle

Lays pale yellow eggs in groups of 50–100 on the leaves of brassicas, especially cabbages and brussels sprouts, from May to September

Caterpillars, at first pale green later marked black and yellow, feed in groups, reducing leaves to skeletons

Some adults emerge in spring from the over-wintering chrysalis, but the largest number emerge in late summer

  • Main photo
  • caterpillar
  • female

Photo © David Corke

Photo © David Corke

Photo © Tony Gunton