This butterfly has white uppersides to its wings. It is only the males that have orange-tipped forewings; females have small black tips. In both sexes the undersides of the hindwings are mottled with moss-green. The orange tips warn predators that this butterfly is highly distasteful.
Orange-tips are common throughout lowland England and Wales, but are rarer in Scotland. Females lay single, pale, spindle-shaped eggs on the underside of flower buds. These eggs turn deep orange after a few days.
The caterpillars hatch and feed on the developing seed pod. They are green and extremely hard to spot. Orange-tip caterpillars are cannibalistic, liable to eat another of their own species should they meet. Each caterpillar leaves its foodplant to overwinter as a chrysalis, probably in bushes and tall vegetation. Adults emerge in April.
What they eat:
Adults drink nectar from flowers. Caterpillars eat garlic mustard and lady's smock, sometimes also sweet rocket and honesty in gardens.