Orange-tip Anthocharis cardamines


The Orange-tip is found in many habitats including hedgerows, along roadside verges, gardens, damp meadows and edges of woods.


Males are unmistakeable with the large orange tips to their forewings and can be easily identified, even in flight. Females, however, can be confused with Small and Green-veined Whites but the underwings of both male and female are very characteristic with their dappled green and white pattern.

Flight times

There is normally only one generation a year. Adults emerge in the third week of April, but can be earlier, and the flight period usually continues until mid-June.

Food plants

Eggs are laid singly on Cuckooflower, Garlic Mustard and other crucifers.

Female Orange-tip - © Simon Jenkins.

Distribution Maps

Orange-tip distribution map 2005-09
Orange-tip distribution map 2010-14
Orange-tip distribution map 2015-19
Orange-tip distribution map 2015
2015 Summary
No of tetrads 542
First sighting 04/04/2015
Last sighting 29/09/2015
Orange-tip distribution map 2016
2016 Summary
No of tetrads 570
First sighting 25/03/2016
Last sighting 29/08/2016
Orange-tip distribution map 2017
2017 Summary
No of tetrads 570
First sighting 01/04/2017
Last sighting 26/07/2017
Orange-tip distribution map 2018
2018 Summary
No of tetrads 530
First sighting 05/04/2018
Last sighting 21/07/2018
Orange-tip distribution map 2019
2019 Summary
No of tetrads 656
First sighting 24/03/2019
Last sighting 04/09/2019
Orange-tip distribution map 2020
2020 Summary
No of tetrads 583
First sighting 22/03/2020
Last sighting 24/08/2020
Orange-tip distribution map 2021
2021 Summary
No of tetrads 611
First sighting 04/03/2021
Last sighting 17/08/2021
Orange-tip distribution map 2022
2022 Summary
No of tetrads 465
First sighting 07/03/2022
Last sighting 05/08/2022

Photo Gallery

Similar or Easily Confused Species and ID Hints

The male Orange-tip is unmistakable with its bright orange wing tips and patrolling flight, along paths and woodland edges. The female, however, can be difficult to distinguish from either the Small White or Green-veined White whilst in flight. Whilst at rest the patterning on the rear underwing is distinctive and cryptic.

Green-veined White Pieris napi

Green-veined White are usually found in similar habitats but the underwing patterning is less intense and the upper wing tip markings are paler and not as extensive.

Small White Pieris rapae

Small White are usually smaller and have paler and less extensive wing-tips than the female Orange-tip. The underside of the rear wing is a plain yellow.

Green-veined White
Green-veined White - female - © Christine Maughan
image of Small White
Small White - female - © Christine Maughan