Small White

Pieris rapae


Wingspan 38 - 57mm. Has white upper-wings and creamy yellow undersides to the hind-wings. Sometimes there is a sooty dusting across the bases of the fore-wings. Best told from Green-veined White from above by the wing veins not terminating in small triangles at the edge of the wing and from below by the yellow hind wings, with no green dusting accentuating the veins. Best told from the Large White by the black at the tip of the fore-wing. The black goes as far along the front of the wing as it does down the wing in the Large White (this can be seen from above and below), whereas the Small White has the black extend further along the front than down the wing.


A wide variety of open habitats are used from grasslands to roadsides, field edges, parks and gardens. They lay their eggs singly on members of the crucifer family of plants, including cabbages, charlock and garlic mustard.

Status and distribution

Common and widespread throughout most of Britain, absent from some of highland Scotland. Common in Nottinghamshire and at Netherfield Lagoons.

Best time to see

April to October.