Lovely Indeed

Sep 1, 2010
If we were to describe the cabbage white butterfly (Pieris rapae) in one word, it would be "lovely."

Especially when it nectars from catmint (Nepeta) in the early evening, as the sun drops low in the horizon.

Butterfly expert Art Shapiro, professor of ecology and evolution at the University of California, Davis, says the species was introduced in southern Canada in the 1850s. "The great lepidopterist Samuel H. Scudder traced its spread, but was unable to resolve the history on the West Coast," he writes on the website, Art's Butterfly World.

"It was not in San Francisco in the early 1880s, but was abundant by the time of the earthquake (1906)." 

Just look at it now. It's everywhere. In fact, every year Shapiro sponsors a contest to see who can find the first cabbage white of the year in the Davis-Sacramento area.

He usually wins.

By Kathy Keatley Garvey
Author - Communications specialist

Attached Images:

CABBAGE WHITE butterfly glows in the late afternoon sun as it nectars on catmint (Nepeta). (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Cabbage White

BALLROOM GOWN? No, the exquisite cabbage white butterfly. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)

Ballroom Gown