Small cabbage white - Photo: Jo Hermans


If you see a white butterfly flying by, it is probably a small cabbage white. The small cabbage white is the most common butterfly in the Netherlands. It resembles the large white and the green-veined white, but, with its pronounced predilection for vegetable gardens, it is most likely that the white butterfly flying around the vegetable garden is a small cabbage white. Cabbage whites live everywhere, but for reproduction they often look for vegetable gardens, because the caterpillars prefer to eat cabbage.


Relationship with humans

Why we do what we do

The small cabbage white is the terror of every vegetable gardener who grows cabbage plants. The caterpillars have a strong preference for cabbage, and it usually does not bode well when a cabbage white comes flying by. The Tapijn Garden, where various types of cabbage are grown, is like a richly laid table for the ever hungry caterpillar. The caterpillars can cause a lot of damage in a short amount of time. In spring, when there are no cabbage plants yet, the butterfly also looks for wild plants to lay eggs on. In the Tapijn Garden, caterpillars are controlled naturally by also making space for parasitic wasps, which live on cabbage white caterpillars.