Small White

Pieris rapae

Andrew Dejardin
Adam Grochowalski
Peter Eeles
Ivan Lynas
Vlad Proklov
Ryszard Szczygieł
Gilles San Martin
Patrick Clement

Identification Tip

The smaller of the two 'Cabbage Whites', Small Whites look similar to the Large White, but have less black on their wings.

What do they eat?

Caterpillars munch:

  • Garden cabbages
  • Nasturtium
  • Wild Cabbage
  • Charlock

Adults take nectar from a range of flowers including:

  • Thistles (favourite)
  • Bluebell
  • Dandelion
  • Hemp-agrimony
  • Sainfoin

Where does it spend the winter?

In the autumn, caterpillars seek out a suitable pupation site, usually a hard surface such as a wall, tree trunk or fence. Once a spot has been chosen, they carefully attach themselves to it with silk, before turning into chrysalises. They’ll spend the winter in this form. then emerge as adults the following spring. Occasionally they choose a warmer location, such as a conservatory or greenhouse, and will develop faster and emerge earlier.



Flying Season

April - September

Life Cycle


April, May, June, July, August, September


May, June, July, August, September


June, July, August, September


January, February, March, April, May, June, July, September, October, November, December

UK Distribution

Want to learn


There is even more about this species on the main Butterfly Conservation website

Fun Facts
about the Small White

Whilst resting, this butterfly will sometimes disguise itself amongst white flowers or against white-patterned (variegated) leaves.