A large strong flying butterfly. Brilliant white wings with black tips to forewings, extending down wing edge. Females also have two spots on forewings not present in males. Undersides creamy white with two spots. The Large White is our largest white butterfly and is a strong flyer. It is not always welcomed in gardens and fields because of the damage its larvae inflict on brassica crops. The larvae are brightly coloured and conspicuous, a signal to warn predators of the irritant and poisonous mustard oils they have concentrated from the food plants.
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Common and widespread throughout Britain and Ireland.
This is a strongly mobile and migrant species that may be encountered in any location, throughout Britain and Ireland, even on mountain tops. Most adults are seen close to breeding areas, in gardens, allotments, and fields where brassica crops are grown. They may congregate in large numbers in fields of Oil-seed Rape. Wild species of food plants are thought not to be important for this species.
The larvae feed on wild or cultivated species of the Cruciferae family, with a strong preference for cultivated varieties of Brassica oleracea such as Cabbage and Brussels-sprout and varieties of B. napus such as Oil-seed Rape. Nasturtium and Wild Mignonette are also used, as is Sea-kale along the coast.
UK BAP status: not listed Butterfly Conservation priority: low European threat status: not threatened