Large white butterfly on a white flower (c) Jan Riley

Cabbage white

Cabbage whites are common butterflies of gardens and other flowery places, where they cause no harm at all. Their dirty-green-coloured caterpillars, on the other hand, can wreak havoc in vegetable gardens and on farms, where they quickly reduce cabbages and other brassica plants to mere stalks. The caterpillars are full of distasteful chemicals, so are not eaten by birds, however, one parasitic wasp species loves them: the wasp lays its eggs inside the caterpillar where they are eaten by the grubs. British populations are bolstered by migrants from the continent.

How to identify common garden butterflies.

Scientific name: Pieris brassicae

Rank: Species

Common names:

  • Cabbage butterfly,
  • Large cabbage white,
  • Large white

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The Cabbage white can be found in a number of locations including: Africa, Asia, Europe, Himalayas, Indian subcontinent, Mediterranean, Russia, United Kingdom, Wales. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


The following habitats are found across the Cabbage white distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.

Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

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