Cabbage White

Pieris rapae

The Cabbage White was introduced into the United States in 1860 and spread rapidly throughout the country. It is currently a very common butterfly in Wisconsin. This butterfly feeds on members of the mustard family, which includes such common garden plants as broccoli, cabbage, and turnips.

This invasive species is thought to replace native species in some areas.

Weekly sightings for Cabbage White

Identifying characteristics

A plain white butterfly with a solid, black front wing tip, and with either one spot (male) or two spots (female) on the front wing. The hind wing beneath is pale yellow.

Similar species

Male Checkered Whites may be mistaken for the Cabbage White. Look for the solid black front wing tip and black spot on the hind wing on the Cabbage White.


Any open area with a variety of mustard species available for the larvae including gardens, old fields, and waysides.


At least three broods, overwintering as a chrysalis. They may be found from April through November throughout the state.


This species is very common throughout the state and may become very abundant, with hundreds and even thousands of individuals flying.


Map showing sighting locations for Cabbage White
Map key
Cabbage WhiteClick to enlarge


Boerner Botanical Gardens, Hales Corner, Milwaukee Co., WI. September 6, 2008.

Cabbage WhiteClick to enlarge


Rotary Gardens, Janesville, Rock Co., WI. September 28, 2008.

Cabbage WhiteClick to enlarge

Wautoma, Waushara Co., WI. September 16, 2003.

Cabbage WhiteClick to enlarge

Nectaring on blazing star

Yellowstone State Park, Lafayette Co., WI. July 27, 2005.