North American Range
A Eurasian species first introduced in Quebec City in 1860 and in New York in 1868. The species was considered widespread in New England by 1871. The earliest record for Vermont was a specimen originally in the Dartmouth College collection and now in the Peabody Natural History Museum dated 3 August 1895 from Woodstock (A.P. Morse).
Scudder (1889) wrote that within a quarter century of its arrival, rapid and widespread colonization had resulted in massive crop losses, mainly to cabbage. Unfortunately, introduced parasites that have been used to control larvae have affected native butterfly species as well.
Upperside of wings white; forewing with black tip. Two submarginal black spots in female, one in male. Underside of hindwing and forewing apex evenly yellow-green or gray-green. Spring and fall short-day form is smaller, less yellow, with reduced black areas.
Two to three broods in the Northeast and multiple (continuous?) broods in the South. In Vermont Cabbage Whites fly beginning in late April through October, perhaps the longest flight period of any species in Vermont. Extreme dates: 14 April 2006 in Hartford (B. Shepard), 24 October 2002 in Grand Isle (D. Hoag).
Distribution and Habitat
This was the only butterfly found in nearly every priority survey block during VBS. Adults nectar from a very wide array of plants including Mustards (Brassicaceae), Dandelion (Taraxacum), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense), Asters (Symphyotrichum), and Mints (Mentha). Host plants are in the Mustard family (Brassicaceae) and include both native and exotic species.