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Green-Veined White Butterfly

Pieris napi

Green-Veined White Butterfly, Green-veined White

A close up of a Pieris napi Green-veined White butterfly on a flower

Pieris napi LC0176

by Jörg Hempel. CC BY-SA 2.0 de

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Often mistaken for the small cabbage white butterfly, the Green-Veined White is a medium-sized butterfly that's widespread across Europe. You can tell these two butterflies apart from the green veins present on the underwing of the Green-Veined White. These aren't veins, but a mixture of black and yellow-pigmented wing scales. Wing scales are plates on the surfaces of the wings. These reflect different light wavelengths, giving butterfly wings the vivid colour. These insects are attracted to damp, sheltered habitats; such as parks, gardens, meadows, woodland rides and hedgerows.
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A common, pretty butterfly which can be seen from spring through to autumn.


Adults: The adults look very similar to the small white butterfly. They are distinguished by the green 'veins' that cover all the hind underwing. The fronts of the forewings also display variable black wing spots, similar to that of the small white. Larvae: The caterpillars of this butterfly almost look identical to that of the small white, so they can be challenging to tell apart these at this stage. The caterpillars are pale green, covered in fine hair-like spines, with yellow spots that possess a central black spot. The latter runs laterally down the length of the body.











The UK and Europe. They've also been recorded as far as Morroco.

Biological treatment

Butterflies are important pollinators, they're also a vital resource for garden wildlife, for birds, reptiles, and other predatory insects. If in high abundance, caterpillars may be picked off garden plants using gloves and relocated.

Chemical treatment

These butterflies tend not to use garden plants as their primary food source as caterpillars, but they will feed on the nectar of a range of flowers as adults.



Medicago spp.

Bird's Foot Trefoil

Lotus corniculatus


Tussilago farfara

Some yellow Senecio jacobaea flowers in the wild

Common Ragwort

Jacobaea vulgaris


Primula veris

Lady's Smock

Cardamine pratensis

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