Anthocharis cardamines


A sure sign of spring arriving is seeing the dancing flight of an Orange-tip butterfly in a woodland or garden. A small but common butterfly, adults fly in the spring, between April and July. The Orange-tip is found in a wide variety of habitats, including hedgerows, woodland rides and meadows, as well as farmland, gardens and parks. The foodplants of the caterpillars are Garlic Mustard, Cuckooflower and Hedge Mustard.

How to identify

The male Orange-tip is unmistakeable: a white butterfly, half of the forewing is a bold orange, with light grey wingtips. The female does not sport the vivid orange colour and looks like a small version of the whites - she can be distinguished by the mottled, 'mossy grey' pattern on the underside of her hindwings.

Where to find it

Found across the country, although scarcer in the north of Scotland.


When to find it

  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July

How can people help

Butterflies such as the Orange-tip will happily visit your garden and are a joy to watch. To attract butterflies into your garden, plant nectar-rich borders for them to feed along and climbing Ivy and shrubs for overwintering insects. To find out more about encouraging wildlife into your garden, visit our Wild About Gardens website: a joint initiative with the RHS, there's plenty of facts and tips to get you started.

Species information

Common name
Latin name
Anthocharis cardamines
Butterflies and moths
Wingspan: 4-5.2cm
Conservation status