Pieris brassicae - photo © K. Bormpoudaki

Pieris brassicae, Crete - photo © K. Bormpoudaki

Pieris brassicae


Pieris brassicae is a butterfly of family Pieridae on the island of Crete, Greece.

Scientific name

Pieris brassicae (Linnaeus, 1758)

Common name

Large White, Cabbage White


Family: Pieridae > Subfamily: Pierinae > Tribus: Pierini > Genus: Pieris


Male to female: 55-70 mm


The general color of the wings is white for both sexes.

On the upper side of the forewing, the male is black-colored near the apex. Females have an additional black band and two round black markings in the postdiscal area. The underside is similar to the upperside, but with grey-yellow colors near the apex.

On the upper side of the hindwing, there is a small black mark, whilst underside it is grey-yellow colored with green shades.

The next generations appear slightly different.


The first butterflies take flight on cool or overcast days. The butterflies are covering vast distances and are exploring all available habitats in search of their foodplants and nectar sources. They keep the wings closed when sitting on the ground or on a flower.


Pieris brassicae in Crete live primarily in open land like agricultural regions, but also parks, gardens, and many other habitats. This species can be found almost anywhere; they often become a pest on cultivated Brassica in farmland.

Food plant

The larva feeds on Asteraceae and Brassicaceae plants.

Flight Period

The butterfly flies in 2-3 generations per year.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

The Large White adults are similar in both appearance and behavior to Pieris rapae; however, the latter is generally much smaller, with the black tip to the forewing upperside being confined to the extreme tip and not extending down the outer edge.


Least Concern (LC)

(*European Red List of Butterflies, 2010)

Pieris Brassicae Distribution Map

*based on http://www.pamperis.gr/THE_BUTTERFLIES_OF_GREECE/MAPS.html

Pieris brassicae location map based on greek butterflies distributions map by L.N. Pamperis (revised 2021)