Pieridae Butterflies: Whites and Sulphurs

West Virginia White butterfly

Cabbage White butterfly

Some of the most common and easy to recognize butterflies are the whites and sulphurs. In fact the name butterfly probably comes from “butter colored flies” referring to some of the yellow ones. There are several variations, but most are white, like the Cabbage White butterfly, or yellow, like the Clouded Sulphur. The wings are roundish, some have orange or black tips and dots. They are midsized butterflies with a wingspan of about an inch.

Orange Sulphur butterfly on asters

Whites and sulphurs are found in every garden visiting flowers. They also like to gather in groups at mud puddles. They often can be seen chasing each other in a spiral flight, circling around each other while raising toward the sky, and then one of them dropping down.

There are many native species, but the Cabbage White butterfly was introduced from Europe and, as its name suggests, it is a pest of cabbages and related plants.

Habitat. Gardens, fields, open areas, from beaches to mountains.

Season. From April to October, year round in southern states.

Flowers. Long throated flowers: monarda, butterfly bush, butterfly weed, mints, clover and also flat open flowers: daisies, sunflower, dandelion, thistles, goldenrod, etc. Also, look for them at mud puddles.

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Beginners Guide to Pollinators and Other Flower Visitors

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One Response to “Pieridae Butterflies: Whites and Sulphurs”

  1. The Ultimate Guide to Butterfly Gardening Says:

    […] Pieridae Butterflies: Whites and Sulphurs “Some of the most common and easy to recognize butterflies are the whites and sulphurs. In fact the name butterfly probably comes from “butter colored flies” referring to some of the yellow ones.” by Beatriz Moisset […]

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