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East Midlands Branch Butterfly Conservation

Large White Pieris brassicae


The Large White is found almost anywhere, but is particularly associated with gardens, farmland and allotments where cabbages and other brassica plants grow.


It is the largest of the three common British white species, and is identified by its blacker wing-tips and bolder spots, particularly on the female. Second generation butterflies are considerably larger than first brood individuals.

Flight times

Adults can be seen on the wing any time from February to November. There are usually two generations a year, peaking in May and late July/early August. In warm summers a third brood may be seen in late September and early October.

Food plants

Larval food plants include a whole range of brassicas, including cabbages, kale and brussels sprouts.

Large White - © Simon Jenkins cut out picture of large white butterfly

Distribution Maps for the East Midlands Region

Large White distribution map 2010
2010 Summary
No of tetrads 441
First sighting 31/03/2010
Last sighting 01/11/2010
Large White distribution map 2011
2011 Summary
No of tetrads 515
First sighting 25/03/2011
Last sighting 15/08/2011
Large White distribution map 2012
2012 Summary
No of tetrads 305
First sighting 01/03/2012
Last sighting 13/10/2012
Large White distribution map 2013
2013 Summary
No of tetrads 754
First sighting 05/04/2013
Last sighting 19/10/2013
Large White distribution map 2014
2014 Summary
No of tetrads 715
First sighting 30/03/2014
Last sighting 20/10/2014
Large White distribution map 2015
2015 Summary
No of tetrads 863
First sighting 04/04/2015
Last sighting 31/10/2015
Large White distribution map 2005-09

Combined records for the five year period 2005-09

Large White distribution map 2010-14

Combined records for the five year period 2010-14


Photo Gallery

Large White

Large White © Christine Maughan

Large White

Large White - female © Christine Maughan

Large White

Large White © Simon Jenkins

Large White

Large White © Simon Jenkins

Large White Large WHite Large White Large White
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Similar or Easily Confused Species and ID Hints

Small White Pieris rapae

Small White are usually smaller and have paler and less extensive wing-tips than the Large White.

small white butterfly
Small White - female - © Christine Maughan

Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni

A female Brimstone flying past could be mistaken for a pale or faded Large White. The black wing-tips of the Large White are the key to look for, plus the female Brimstone has a slight greenish colouration. The Brimstone always rests with its wings closed.

Brimstone - © Christine Maughan
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