The large white is a common, large, white butterfly that is often spotted flying slowly over cabbage patches in gardens and allotments, and over farmland; adults fly between April and October. Also known as the 'Cabbage white', the foodplants of the caterpillars of this butterfly are members of the cabbage family, known as 'Brassicas', hence its Latin name, Pieris brassicae.
How to identify
The large white is a white butterfly with prominent black tips to the forewings. The underside of the wings is cream. The female has two black spots and a dash on each forewing. As its name suggests, the large white is larger than the other white butterflies.
Found across the UK, although scarcer in the north of Scotland.
The brassica-loving caterpillars of the large white are brightly coloured to warn predators that they are poisonous having accumulated mustard oils from the oil-seed rape, cabbages and sprouts they have eaten.
How people can help
If you want to keep large white caterpillars at bay, try placing horticultural fleece over your vegetables to stop the butterfly laying its eggs on them. To find out more about gardening in a wildlife-friendly way, or welcoming wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.