Sirhowy Hill Woodlands

Scientific name: Anthocharis cardamines

Orange Tip

Orange-tips are commonly seen in spring and early summer.


Common and widespread, a medium sized butterfly of gardens and hedgerows. The males are unmistakeable; white butterflies with bright orange wing tips. Females are white with black wing tips. Both have mottled green underwings. Small Whites are similar to the female but without underwing markings.

What does the Orange Tip eat?

The Orange Tip eats several types of food, especially Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis) in damp meadows and Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata) along road verges and ditches. Occasionally, it eats Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale), Winter-cress (Barbarea vulgaris), Turnip (Brassica rapa), Charlock (Sinapis avensis), Large Bitter-cress (C. amara), and Hairy Rock-cress (Arbis hirsuta). In addition it lays its eggs on Honesty (Lunaria annua) and Dame’s-violet (Hesperis matronalis) in gardens, but larval survival is thought to be poor on these plants.

What habitat does the Orange Tip live in?

Orange-tips prefer damp habitats such as meadows, woodland glades, hedgerows and the banks of streams and rivers, but readily visits gardens.


What family does the Orange Tip belong to?

The Orange Tip belongs to the Pieridae family.

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Scientific Name

Anthocharis cardamines


England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland


Medium sized

Wingspan Range: 45-50mm


Widespread throughout Britain and Ireland, having spread considerably in Scotland over the past 30 years. Distribution Trend Since 1970’s = +7%

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