North American Butterflies and Moths List

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

The Registry of Nature Habitats

U.S. Geological Survey

Butterflies of North America

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
JPG -- species photo

Large White (Pieris brassicae [Linnaeus])

Wing span: 2 1/2 - 2 3/4 inches (6-7 cm).

Identification: Like a very large version of the Cabbage White.

Life history: Females lay masses of yellow eggs on undersides of host leaves. Caterpillar is gray-green green with black smudges ands short white hairs. Chrysalis is gray green with small yellow and black marks.

Flight: Two to three flights in Europe from April to October.

Caterpillar hosts: Cabbages, Brussel-sprouts, nasturtium.

Adult food: Flower nectar from a very wide array of plants including thistles and butterfly bush.

Habitat: Almost any type of open space especially vegetable gardens, roadsides, cities, and suburbs.

Range: Common native in temperate Eurasia. Rare stray or escape in North America.

Conservation: Not required.

Management needs: None needed for rare stray.

The Nature Conservancy Global Rank: G5 - Demonstrably secure globally.


Higgins, L.G. and N.D. Riley. 1970. A field guide to the butterflies of Britain 
     and Europe. Houghton Mifflin Co., Boston.369 pages.

Thomas, J.A., 1992. Butterflies of the British Isles. Hamlyn Press, London. 
     160 pp.

Author: Paul A. Opler

Large White (Pieris brassicae)
distribution map
map legend

Return to species list
Return to Butterflies of North America main page