Blue Mistflower with Cabbage White butterfly by Christi Leeson

Cabbage White Butterfly

Cabbage White (Pieris rapae) butterflies are often considered a pest by gardeners who are trying to grow crops in the mustard family (Brassicaceae) – cabbage, kale, collards, etc. – the Cabbage White is a non-native butterfly accidentally introduced from Europe in the 19th century.

It has since edged out the native Checkered White to become the most ubiquitous butterfly in the United States.

It is one of the first butterflies to appear when the weather warms, and breeds constantly throughout the season.

Because of their abundance and the availability of their host plant, they are an easy choice to raise educationally in your backyard.

How do you tell whether a Cabbage White butterfly is male or female?

The male has one black spot on its upper forewing; the female has two.

How do you identify a Cabbage White caterpillar?

The caterpillars are green with a yellow stripe down the middle, enabling them to camouflage themselves expertly. However, camouflage is their only defense against predators.

How do you identify the butterfly chrysalis?

The last brood of the season will spend the winter in chrysalis, emerging early the following spring.

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