Lady in White

Jul 30, 2009

The cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) looks like a Lady in White when she perches on catmint.

The colors are striking: A long, flowing white gown nestled among the rich lavender blossoms and earthy green leaves.

UC Davis Butterfly expert Art Shapiro says this insect flies an average of 44 weeks of the year in the Davis-Sacramento area. It seems to particularly love the catmint in our garden.

Last night, however, it was flying in our kitchen.

There is no catmint in the kitchen.

There is only a cat.

The confused butterfly probably entered the kitchen through an open door--or the cat door.

My mission: Rescue the butterfly bouncing around in the kitchen and let it go before the cat, aka Xena the Warrior Princess, developed a culinary interest in it.

Mission accomplished.

Back to the catmint it went. I  did not take it to Shapiro and ask "Did I win?"

You see, every year Shapiro sponsors a cabbage white contest in the Davis-Sacramento area. The first person who delivers a cabbage white to him, starting the first of the year, wins a pitcher of beer. The contest always ends in January or February.

"Almost every year," he says, "someone brings one in May or June and asks 'Did I win?'"

No losers this time, though. The Lady in White won.

She won the how-to-get-out-of-the-kitchen-unscathed-and-back-to-the-catmint contest.

By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

CABBAGE WHITE BUTTERFLY(Pieris rapae) nectars catmint. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Cabbage White

THIS CLOSE-UP shows the cabbage white butterfly, aka Lady in White, sipping nectar from catmint. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)