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Green-veined White Pieris napi, July 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman.
Yesterday morning on a walk near a local pond looking for dragonflies, I found these beautiful white butterflies drinking on the pond margin. The upper sides are creamy white with dark-tipped forewings and the veins dusted with dark scales. The male usually has a single dark spot towards the centre of each forewing, whilst the female usually has two. The underside distinguishes the Green-veined White (Pieris napi) from the Small White (Pieris rapae) with its distinctive pale yellow colouration and its black scaled veins giving them a greenish tint, hence its common name.
The caterpillars feed on a wide range of Crucifers, such as Charlock, Garlic Mustard, Cuckooflower and Watercress. It does not feed on cultivated crucifers like the Small White, and is not considered a pest.
It flies March to November in two to four broods. Found in flowery places of all types, including wild meadows, hedgerows, and woodland clearings. Also found in parks and gardens, but much less frequent than other whites. Resident and common throughout Britain.
Photographs taken May 2009, and July 2016, local field and pond, Staffordshire.