Large White

Pieris brassicae

About

The Large White is a common, medium-sized, white butterfly, which is often spotted flying slowly over cabbage patches in gardens and allotments, and over farmland. Adults fly between April and October. Also known as the 'Cabbage White', the foodplants of the caterpillars of this butterfly are members of the cabbage family (known as 'Brassicas', hence the Latin name of this species).

How to identify

The Large White is a white butterfly, with black tips to the forewings. The underside of the wings is cream. The female has two black spots and a dash on each forewing. It is larger than the other white butterflies.

Where to find it

Found across the country, although scarcer in the north of Scotland.

Habitats

When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October

How can people help

The caterpillars of the Large White butterfly are often considered a pest to gardeners and veg-growers as they damage cabbages and similar crops. If you want to keep the caterpillars away from your Brassicas, try placing horticultural fleece over your vegetables to stop the butterfly reaching the leaves and laying its eggs. You can also pick off the caterpillars, which are long, hairy and yellowy-green, with yellow stripes and black spots. To find out more about controlling garden pests in a wildlife-friendly way or encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Large White
Latin name
Pieris brassicae
Category
Invertebrates
Butterflies and moths
Statistics
Wingspan: 5.5-7cm
Conservation status
Common.