Alberta, Canada
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Cabbage White
Pieris rapae
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General Description

By Nora Bryan

There’s no doubt that the Cabbage White is the most commonly observed butterfly in Alberta, especially in cities. Like many introduced plants and animals, the Cabbage White has more than thrived in North America. They sometimes emerge from pupation as early as March if they have overwintered indoors, and in fall, they are just about the last butterfly to yield to the frosty Alberta fall.

This familiar butterfly has creamy white wings. The forewings are tipped in black and there are black spots on the forewing – a single one for males and a pair for females. There is a rare yellow form.

The fat green caterpillars, called Imported Cabbageworms munch plants in the Mustard Family, and the choicest plants are in our vegetable gardens. These unbeloved caterpillars chew aged holes completely through leaves, and sometimes chew quite deeply into a plant where they are protected from birds and gardeners casually waving about some kind of insect spray.

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Where to find Cabbage Whites in Alberta   

There is currently no information regarding this species in our Where & When database.

Cabbage White Behaviour   

No observations regarding Cabbage White behavior have been submitted to the database yet.

Interesting Facts about Cabbage Whites   

No interesting facts regarding Cabbage Whites have been submitted to the database yet.

Cabbage White Stories from our Readers   


In the summer of 2006, the numbers of cabbage butterflies in southern Alberta was astounding. People described drifts and swarms of butterflies all over the place. Even in Kananaskis Country, every stand of roadside thistle was dominated by cabbage butterflies in late summer. In Calgary there were greater than normal numbers in parks and gardens. Further north around Edmonton, unusual numbers werenot reported. The warm weather and timely rains may have encouraged high numbers.  Nora Bryan

Recent Cabbage White Reports in Alberta

No. Location Reporter Date
20 Town of Devon Mark 2011/07/24
2 Edmonton E Mark 2010/10/03
5 County of Barrhead No. 11 Mark 2010/08/08
5 Edmonton E Mark 2010/08/06
5 Ellerslie Mark 2010/08/06

Cabbage White Hotspots in Alberta

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