Yellow and white butterflies

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This group includes two of the commonest garden butterflies, the large white and small white, whose habit of laying their eggs on cabbage plants makes them unpopular with gardeners.

The green-veined white is superficially similar, but has strongly veined underwings and prefers damp, uncultivated places. The male orange tip is unmistakable but the female lacks the orange wingtips. She lays her eggs on crucifers such as cuckoo flower or garlic mustard.

With its clear yellow wings, the brimstone also is unmistakable. Females emerge from hibernation in spring and set off to find alder buckthorn bushes on which to lay their eggs.The clouded yellow is an immigrant from Europe, in some years arriving in very large numbers and reaching as far north as Scotland.

© Ken Wooldridge