cabbage white

(Pieris rapae)

Conservation Status
cabbage white
Photo by Tom Baker
  IUCN Red List

not listed


NNA - Not applicable

SNA - Not applicable


not listed


Cabbage white is an exotic, small to medium-sized butterfly. It is native to Europe and Asia. It was introduced into Quebec in the 1860s. It has since become very common and in some areas abundant across North America. It is a crop pest.

The upperside of the wings are white. There is a black spot in the middle of the forewing and a black or blackish wingtip. There is also a black spot near the middle of the leading margin of the hindwing. The female has an additional black spot on the forewing near the inner margin.

The underside of the forewing is white with one (male) or two (female) black spots and a pale yellow wingtip. The underside of the hindwing is uniformly pale yellowish-green or grayish-green.




Wingspan: 1¾ to 2¼


Similar Species

  Mustard white (Pieris oleracea) has no black spots in the middle of the forewing. The veins on the underside of the hindwing are highlighted with yellowish-green or grayish-green. It is absent in the southern half of Minnesota.  

Open or lightly wooded areas; gardens, roadsides, crop lands, urban areas.




Three broods. Early May to late September.






Life Cycle


Females lay single eggs on the underside of a host leaf. The pupa overwinters as a chrysalis.


Larva Hosts


Plants in the mustard (Brassicaceae) and caper (Capparidaceae) families.


Adult Food


Flower nectar from mustard, dandelion, red clover, aster, and mint.


Distribution Map



4, 7, 21, 24, 29, 30, 71, 75, 82.




Native to Europe and Asia. Introduced and widely naturalized in North America.




Common to abundant and widespread; crop pest



Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths)  


Papilionoidea (butterflies)  


Pieridae (whites, yellows and sulphurs)  


Pierinae (whites)  


  Subtribe Pierina  


Pieris (garden whites)  

Subordinate Taxa


cabbage white (Pieris rapae atomaria)

cabbage white (Pieris rapae crucivora)

cabbage white (Pieris rapae eumorpha)

cabbage white (Pieris rapae leucosoma)

cabbage white (Pieris rapae mauretanica)

cabbage white (Pieris rapae napi)

cabbage white (Pieris rapae novangliae)

cabbage white (Pieris rapae orientalis)

cabbage white (Pieris rapae rapae)






Common Names


cabbage butterfly

cabbage white

imported cabbageworm (larva)

small cabbage white










The pupa (third) stage of a butterfly or moth during which the caterpillar metamorphoses into an adult. In moths, the pupa is enclosed in a silk cocoon. In butterflies, the pupa is naked but protected by a hardened outer shell.























Visitor Photos

Share your photo of this insect.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach one or more photos and, if you like, a caption.

Alfredo Colon

    cabbage white   cabbage white  

Tom Baker

    cabbage white   cabbage white  
    cabbage white   cabbage white  
    cabbage white   cabbage white  
    cabbage white      


    cabbage white   cabbage white  



Cabbage White
  Cabbage White  

Copyright DianesDigitals

European Cabbage White Butterfly, Pieris rapae

Pieris rapae (Cabbage White)
Allen Chartier
  Pieris rapae (Cabbage White)  
Cabbage White
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
  Cabbage White  



Visitor Videos

Share your video of this insect.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Attach a video, a YouTube link, or a cloud storage link.


Other Videos
  Cabbagewhite Butterfly --Pieris rapae-- Life Cycle

Uploaded on Dec 13, 2011

Pieris rapae, also known as the Cabbagewhite or Brassica butterfly, completes its entire life cycle in this minimally-narrated video. Pieris rapae raised along with Wisconsin Fast Plants provide a rich example of interdependence and interrelatedness among organisms who share a habitat. For open access lessons and additional information about Pieris, visit the Wisconsin Fast Plant Program's website at and search our digital library under the "Activities" tab.

  Cabbage White Butterfly (Pieridae: Pieris rapae) Female on Leaf
Carl Barrentine

Uploaded on Aug 6, 2011

Photographed on the Wisconsin side of the Mississippi River north of Red Wing, Minnesota (04 August 2011). Thank you to Kelly Fiegle ( for confirming the identity and identifying the sex of this specimen!

  Pieris rapae -

Published on Jan 3, 2013

Comunissima farfalla della famiglia delle Pieirdae

  Cabbage White Butterfly

Uploaded on Oct 8, 2011

Cabbage White Butterfly common in all North America




Visitor Sightings

Report a sighting of this insect.

  This button not working for you?
Simply email us at
Be sure to include a location.

Alfredo Colon

Location: Albany, NY

cabbage white  
  Alfredo Colon

Location: Albany, NY

cabbage white  

Agassiz Dunes SNA (MN DNR)

Anna Gronseth Prairie

Avon Hills Forest SNA, North Unit

Baker Park Reserve

Belgium Prairie

Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park

Big Stone Lake State Park

Blazing Star Prairie Addition Preserve, South Unit

Boot Lake SNA

Buffalo River State Park

Butterwort Cliffs SNA

Camden State Park

Cedar Rock SNA

Chamberlain Woods SNA

Cherry Grove Blind Valley SNA

Cleary Lake Regional Park

Clifton E. French Regional Park

Compass Prairie SNA

Crow Wing State Park

Des Moines River SNA

Elm Creek Park Reserve

Felton Prairie SNA, Bicentennial Unit

Forestville/Mystery Cave State Park

Fort Ridgely State Park

Foxhome Prairie

Glendalough State Park

Gneiss Outcrops SNA

Grey Cloud Dunes SNA

Hayes Lake State Park

Holthe Prairie SNA

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Hythecker Prairie SNA

Iron Horse Prairie SNA

Itasca State Park

John Murtaugh Memorial WMA

Kettledrummer Prairie

Kilen Woods State Park

Lake Shetek State Park

Langhei Prairie SNA

Lutsen SNA

Minnesota Valley NWR, Long Meadow Lake Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Rapids Lake Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Wilkie Unit

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, South Unit

Murphy-Hanrehan Park Reserve

Myre-Big Island State Park

Old Mill State Park

Oronoco Prairie SNA

Osmundson Prairie SNA

Pembina Trail Preserve SNA, Crookston Prairie Unit

Pin Oak Prairie SNA

Prairie Creek WMA, Koester Prairie Unit

Prairie Smoke Dunes SNA

Red Rock Prairie

Regal Meadow

Rice Lake State Park

Richard M. & Mathilde Rice Elliott SNA

River Terrace Prairie SNA

St. Croix Savanna SNA

Sandpiper Prairie SNA

Santee Prairie SNA

Savage Fen SNA

Seven Sisters Prairie

Sibley State Park

Split Rock Creek State Park

Spring Beauty Northern Hardwoods SNA

Spring Lake Park Reserve

Swedes Forest SNA

Town Hall Prairie

Tribute WMA

Twin Valley WMA: North Unit

Tympanuchus Prairie

Uncas Dunes SNA

Upper Sioux Agency State Park

Vermillion River WMA

Whitetail Woods Regional Park

Whitewater State Park

Wild River State Park

William O’Brien State Park

Woodbury WMA

Zimmerman Prairie

Zumbro Falls Woods SNA





Last Updated:

About Us | Privacy Policy | Contact Us | © All rights reserved.