A delicate dainty butterfly with feeble like flight, which has broad and rounded wings, and has a white yellowish ground colour with grey streaks. Also has quite a distinctive black smudgy spot on the corners of the forewings. The first brood is generally much greyer.
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The butterfly has declined seriously in England and Wales. In Ireland it has so far been found only in the Burren, whilst its sister species, Real's Wood White, is widespread and has expanded northwards in recent decades.
The Wood White breeds in tall grassland or light scrub in partially shaded or edge habitats. In Britain, most colonies breed in woodland rides and clearings, though a few large colonies occur on coastal undercliffs. A few smaller colonies occur on disused railway lines and around rough, overgrown field edges (for example in north Devon). In Ireland, more open habitats are used, often far from woodland, including rough grassland with scrub, road verges, hedges, and disused railway lines.
Various legumes are used, commonly Meadow Vetchling, Bitter-vetch, Tufted Vetch, Common Bird's-foot-trefoil, and Greater Bird's-foot-trefoil. (Note that some vetches are not used, notably Bush Vetch, and Common Vetch.
UK BAP status: Priority Species Butterfly Conservation priority: high European threat status: not threatened Protected in Great Britain for sale only