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Butterfly Conservation Warwickshire - Branch Logo featuring the White-letter Hairstreak butterfly.Butterfly Conservation.

Butterflies - Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines)

Fairly common and widespread in our area. The Orange-tip is a medium sized butterfly which is often seen in gardens and along hedgerows and roadside verges, especially in areas where water occurs. Males have white wings with orange wing tips. Females are white with black wing tips and can be easily confused with the Small White

Both the male and female have mottled pattern of yellow and black scales on the underside hindwings which provides excellent camouflage when they roost on flower heads such as Cow Parsley.

Adult Orange-tip butterflies are on the wing between mid-April and mid-June.

Eggs are usually laid singly on a variety of foodplants in bright sunshine within damp meadows or road verges, disused railway lines and ditches. On hatching, the larvae immediately eat the shell of its egg before feeing on the host plant. The larvae eat the seeds, developing seed pods and flower-heads. By the fourth instar the larvae may eat upto 6 Garlic Mustard seed pods in a day pausing every so often to rest.

The caterpillars of the Orange-tip are know to be cannibalistic and it is thought that a single Cuckooflower plant can sustain only one larvae.

  • Larval Food Plants
  • Habitat
  • Status
  • Key Sites
  • Links
  • Photographs

Cuckooflower or Lady's Smock (Cardamine pratensis)
Garlic Mustard (Alliaria petiolata)
Hedge Mustard (Sisymbrium officinale)
Turnip (Brassica rapa)
Charlock (Sinapis avensis)
Hairy Rock-cress (Arabis hirsuta)
Winter-cress (Barbarea vulgaris)

This butterfly is usually seen in damp grassy habitats or river banks where Cuckooflower (also known as Lady's Smock), the primary larvae foodplant grows or along hedgerows where Garlic/Hedge Mustard is found.

Resident in Warwickshire.

Draycote Meadows (WWT Reserve)
Harbury Spoilbank (WWT Reserve)
Brandon Marsh (WWT Reserve)
Welches Meadow (WWT Reserve)
Henley Sidings (WWT Reserve)

Find out more about the Orange-tip online at the following links;

Flight Chart
The flight chart below is based on observations of the adult Orange-tip butterfly in Warwickshire between 2005 and 2008. Peak periods are shown in dark green.

Orange-tip Flight Chart

Distribution Maps

Orange-tip - 2011 records / distribution. Orange-tip - 2010 records / distribution. Orange-tip - 2000 to 2009 records / distribution.
2011 (1yr) 2010 (1yr) 2000-09 (10yr)

Orange-tipOrange-tip © Steven Cheshire - Male

Annual First Sightings
First sighting dates are based on records of Orange-tip submitted online. Please note that these dates are not updated retrospectively to include records submitted to the branch recorder in other forms.

18/04/2018 Ashlawn Cutting, Coombe Abbey, Keni

30/03/2017 Fenny Compton Tunnel Bank

02/04/2016 Stockton Cutting

07/04/2015 Priory Lane

29/03/2014 Fenny Compton Tunnel bank

20/04/2013 Frankton Wood / The Runghills, Leam

24/03/2012 Bodymoor Heath

23/03/2011 Ladywalk NR

08/04/2010 3 The Deer Leap, Kenilworth

24/03/2009 Ladywalk NR

30/03/2008 Mickleton

02/04/2007 Kingsbury Water Park

Other Species

Please select an alternative species from the list below.