Large White butterfly

Pieris brassicae

family - Pieridae (Whites)

Image of Large White butterfly

The Large White butterfly is big and white! It has a thick black edge to the wing tip.

Commonly known, along with the Small White, as Cabbage Whites. Cabbages and related vegetables are larval food plants.

My personal observations of the Large White butterfly

months seen in my garden: April to September

garden plants that attract this species:

Ageratum, Alliums, Buddleia, Borage, Candytuft, Chives, Honesty, Hyssop, Lavender, Nasturtium, Petunia, Red Valerian, Silene, Sweet Rocket, Verbena, Virginian Stock, Wallflower

Butterfly sightings 2005:

Large White on allium, 22 April
Large White on Sweet Rocket, 29 April
Large White on allium, 19 May
Large White hiding on pittosporum, 11 June
Large White on bramble, 16 July
Large White, 26 July
Large White on Lavender, 30 July
Large White in Overley Wood, 31 July
Large White on Thistle in Overley Wood, 31 July
Seen in garden, 1 August
Large White at Barrow Wake, 18 August
Seen in garden, 20 August
At Whitesheet Hill, 21 August
Large White seen 28 August and 2 September
Feeding on Buddleia 'Pink Pearl', 4 September
Large White seen 15 September

Butterfly sightings 2004:

Large White on Candytuft, 19 June

I was admitted to hospital for 4 months from 15 July, so no more images from 2004.

top 10 memorable images of 2003:

Here are the best 10 of 40 digital images saved from 2003.

thumbnail link Female on Verbena. September 21. The black markings on the wing tips come about half way down the edge of the wing; the similar markings on the Small White are much smaller.

thumbnail link Male on Verbena. September 24.

thumbnail link Top of wings. Male on Verbena. September 13. The forewing of the male is white; the hindwing has a black spot (hidden under the forewing here).

thumbnail link Top of wings. Female on Verbena. August 24. The forewing of the female has 2 black spots and a dash.

thumbnail link Side view. On Buddleia Nanho Blue. August 6.

thumbnail link On Buddleia 'White Profusion'. August 8. The underside hindwings are yellowish.

thumbnail link Side view. On Lavender. August 24.

thumbnail link Camoflaged. August 19. Large Whites often rest overnight on grey-leaved plants.

thumbnail link Large White caterpillar on Nasturtium at Westonbirt International Festival of Gardens. August 30.

thumbnail link Large White caterpillar sharing a leaf with Small White caterpillar. Westonbirt. August 30.

A Selection of images from previous years:

1 September 2002 on Verbena
28 August 2002 on Verbena
19 June 2002 on Chives
19 May 2002 on Sweet Rocket
19 May 2002 on Red Valerian
19 May 2002 on Red Valerian
16 May 2002 on Chives
16 May 2002 on ornamental Allium
19 May 2001 on Honesty
22 September 1999


The Large White butterfly is very common in gardens but not as common as Small White butterflies.

I watched a male Large White butterfly in pursuit of a female Brimstone butterfly on 4 September 2003; they sometimes get confused!

Reference Section

Size: 63-70mm (see list of butterflies by size)

First Generation flight period: May-June
Second Generation flight period: July-September
Third Generation flight period: October

Larval Food Plants: Cabbages and related plants, Nasturtiums, Sweet Rocket

Family Group: Pieridae - see list of butterflies by family

This page last updated: 9 December, 2005