Butterflies of Scotland
- Green-veined White (Pieris napi)

Green-veined White Butterfly

This is a very common butterfly but is often mistaken for its cousin, the Small White, particularly when in flight. As its name implies, however, the Green-veined White has white wings with prominent greenish veins on hind wing. Butterflies from broods later in the year tend to have less distinctive veining, making them seem even more like the Small White.

Upper wings have one or more spots and the forewing has a dark tip. The female has two spots on each forewing, the male only one. The veins on the wings of the female are usually more heavily marked. The Small White is similar, but lacks green veins.

There can be as many as three broods each year (only one in the north of Scotland) so it can be seen from late April to October, with peaks in May and August. It is one of the most frequently seen butterflies and it can be found in meadows, hedgerows and woodland glades but not as often in gardens and parks as the Large and Small Whites. Unlike these two butterflies, it rarely chooses garden cabbages to lay its eggs on, preferring the wild mustard family, Cuckoo Flower or cabbage plants. The caterpillar from the second brood forms a chrysalis in September and over-winters like that.

Adults occur widely but tend to congregate in damp, lush vegetation where their foodplants are found, especially hedgerows, ditches, banks of rivers, lakes, and ponds, damp meadows and moorland, and woodland rides and edges.

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