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East Midlands Branch Butterfly Conservation

Small White Pieris rapae


The Small White is found commonly in most habitats, but particularly in gardens and allotments where cabbages and other brassica plants grow, and farmland where oilseed rape is grown.


It is similar to the Large White, although usually smaller, and lacks the striking black wing tips. Females are more heavily marked and have two distinct spots on the upperside of the forewings. Males only have one spot in the centre of each forewing, a feature lacking in the male Large White.

Flight times

Adults can be seen on the wing from as early as February, although April is more common, until November. There are usually two generations a year, peaking in mid-May and July. Occasionally a third emergence occurs during August and September.

Food plants

It has a distinct preference for cultivated brassicas, including cabbages, oil seed rape and brussels sprouts, as well as ornamental Nasturtium.

Small White - © Simon Jenkins cut out picture of small white butterfly

Distribution Maps for the East Midlands Region

Small White distribution map 2010
2010 Summary
No of tetrads 164
First sighting 20/05/2010
Last sighting 27/08/2010
Small White distribution map 2011
2011 Summary
No of tetrads 621
First sighting 23/03/2011
Last sighting 24/10/2011
Small White distribution map 2012
2012 Summary
No of tetrads 199
First sighting 05/06/2012
Last sighting 08/09/2012
Small White distribution map 2013
2013 Summary
No of tetrads 809
First sighting 01/04/2013
Last sighting 24/10/2013
Small White distribution map 2014
2014 Summary
No of tetrads 842
First sighting 25/02/2014
Last sighting 17/11/2014
Small White distribution map 2015
2015 Summary
No of tetrads 912
First sighting 22/03/2015
Last sighting 31/10/2015
Small White distribution map 2005-09

Combined records for the five year period 2005-09

Small White distribution map 2010-14

Combined records for the five year period 2010-14


Photo Gallery

Small White

Small White - female © Christine Maughan

Small White

Small White © Christine Maughan

Small White

Small White - male 1st brood © Simon Jenkins

Small White

Small White © Simon Jenkins

Small White Small White Small White Small White
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