The Small White butterfly isn't that small in relation to other British butterflies: It is smaller than the Large White butterfly.
Small and Large Whites are known to British gardeners as Cabbage Whites; they are the only species that are garden pests in that they lay their eggs upon members of the cabbage family.
months seen in my garden: most of the butterfly season
garden plants that attract this species:
Aubrieta, Buddleia, Candytuft, Ceratostigma, Chives, Choisya, Forget-me-not, Hebe, Helichrysum, Honesty, Hyssop, Lavender, Lobelia, Marigold, Michaelmas Daisy, Mint, Scabious, Sedum, Sweet Rocket, Verbena, Virginian Stock, Wallflower
Small White butterfly
on Wallflower, 25 March
Small White butterfly on Sweet Rocket, 25 March
Small White on Verbena bonariensis, 21 July
Mating pair of Small White butterflies, 21 July
Plenty in the garden on 23 and 26 July
Seen in my garden on 1 August
Also on 23 and 28 August, 2 and 17 September
Small White on Dandelion at Upton House, 2 October
No images. I was admitted to hospital on 15 July for 4 months - missed most of the Small White butterflies!
Resting on Eleagnus. Top view. Male has 'black' wing tip, one black spot on the forewing and a black spot on the hindwing. July 27.
On Mint. August 30.
Female on blue Hyssop. Female is similar to male but also has an extra black & black dash on the forewing. August 30.
Feeding on Verbena. August 8.
Feeding on French Marigold. September 24.
Resting on Sedum. Top view of male. September 24.
Female feeding on Michaelmas Daisy. September 3.
On pink Hyssop. August 23.
On Verbena. August 20.
1 September 2002 on Hyssop
15 August 2002 on Ceratostigma
15 August 2002, a courting pair near/on Buddleia 'Nanho Blue'
23 June 2002 on Buddleia alternifolia
10 September 2000 on Ceratostigma
26 August 1999, caterpillar on Cabbage
I find it hard to differentiate Small and Large White butterflies sometimes. Large White butterflies are slightly larger than Small White butterflies (obviously!) I try to look at the black marking at the tip of the forewing which is longer on the Large White butterfly.
Green-veined White butterflies are about the same size as Small White butterflies. The underside of the hindwing gives the clue to identification - the veins are outlined in the Green-veined White butterfly.
Size: 48mm (see list of butterflies by size)
First Generation flight period: March-May
Second Generation flight period: June-August
Third Generation flight period: September
Larval Food Plants: Cabbages, Nasturtium
Wild Nectar Plants: Field Scabious
Family Group: Pieridae - see list of butterflies by family