Large White - Pieris brassicae


This is the largest of our 'white' butterflies. The female is distinguished from the male by the presence of two black spots, together with a black dash, on the forewing upper side.

Similar Species

Whilst the Large White and Small White can usually be distinguished by size, this isn't always useful in a photo. However there are differences in the shape of the black mark on the forewing tip. In the Large White, this black tip wraps around both the leading edge and trailing edge with the inner boundary strongly curved. In the Small White the black tip has a more or less straight inner line and it doesn't extend very far along the trailing edge.

Identification difficulty

This species is found in a wide variety of habitats and can turn up almost anywhere, including gardens, allotments, parks, meadows, open grassland and hedgerows.

When to see it

April to September. The first brood emerges in April, with a peak in May. In typical years their offspring emerge in July and fly through August and into early September. There is sometimes a third brood.

Life History

The main larval foodplants are various Crucifers (Cabbage family) but Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) may be used. The larva of this species can reach pest proportions and decimate cabbages to the point that they become mere skeletons.

UK Status

This is one of the most widespread species found in the British Isles and can be found almost everywhere. This species is also known to migrate to the British Isles from the Continent, augmenting the resident population in the process.

VC55 Status

Common throughout Leicestershire & Rutland.

58.006 BF1549

Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map

Species profile

Common names
Large White, Cabbage White, Large White Moth, Large White Butterfly
Species group:
Records on NatureSpot:
First record:
12/05/1949 (Wesley, Isaac)
Last record:
03/12/2023 (Pugh, Dylan)

Total records by month

% of records within its species group

10km squares with records

The latest images and records displayed below include those awaiting verification checks so we cannot guarantee that every identification is correct. Once accepted, the record displays a green tick.

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